President Pranab Mukherjee bestowed the President's Standard award on the frontline fighter Squadrons -- 220 Squadron and 32 Squadron -- at a ceremonial presentation organised at the Halwara Air Force Station on Wednesday.
Decorated officers from the two squadrons, their spouses and children attended the ceremony, taking pride in every word the President said in appreciation of the officers.
The parade ground painted in sky-blue colour corresponded perfectly with the blue sky and the colour of IAF.
The President, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, began his speech by acknowledging the presence of Punjab governor Shivraj Patil, Punjab ministers Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Madan Mohan Mittal, who represented the chief minister, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne and various other officials of the IAF.
Gp Capt Sharad Aneja, Commanding Officer, 220 Squadron, and Gp Capt GVNK Varma, Commanding Officer, 32 Squadron, received the award from the President.
The President's Standards is the highest and most prestigious honour bestowed upon any unit of the armed forces in recognition of its invaluable contribution to the security of the nation, both during hostilities and during peace.
It is a symbol of excellence which, the President said, had been earned by the two squadrons for their selfless devotion and exceptional service to the nation and its people.
A spectacular display of fly-past of 12 aircraft flown by the units being awarded the President's Standards depicted the clockwork precision.
There were slogans in favour of the President and Bharat Mata as the parade on the ground saluted the President while the fly-past commenced in the sky with three Mi-17 IV helicopters in victory formation with the lead aircraft carrying the national flag followed by the two other carrying the IAF flag.
The fly-past was coordinated with the national salute given by the parade to the President, followed by three Su-30 MKI aircraft flown in a victory formation.
The coordination on the earth and sky was evident from the fly-past of the three Su-30 MKI aircraft timed with the presentation of the President's Standards to 220 Squadron and three Bison aircraft in victory formation followed the Su-30MKI aircraft while the President's Standards was being given to the 32 Squadron.
Taking time to give an insight into the glorious history of both the squadrons, President Mukherjee described true allegiance of 32 Squadron to its motto 'Maha Vegashch Dridhvratah (fast in speed and firm in determination)' and appreciated the 220 Squadron for abiding by its motto 'Shauryan Tejo Dhirith' (valour , energy and firmness).