Air Marshal Arup Raha will be the next Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, succeeding Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, who retires Dec 31 after a distinguished 41-year career during which he passionately worked for the modernisation of the force.
The appointment was cleared by the government some time back and formally announced on Tuesday.
The new air chief has had the distinction of heading the IAF's spearhead force, the Western Air Command, as also the Central Air Command.
As is customary, he was brought to the Air Headquarters on June 30 as the vice chief in preparation for his new assignment. This brief preparatory tenure helps a new chief get familiarised with IAF's current and future plans as also the IAF's role in India's strategic perspective.
Air Marshal Raha was commissioned into the IAF on December 14, 1974 as a combat pilot, flying MiG-21 and MiG-29 aircraft in the fighter stream of the flying branch.
During a career spanning nearly 39 years, Air Marshal Raha has held various command, staff and instructional appointments. He served as India's air attache in Ukraine.
Besides various technical courses, he has done National Defence College (NDC), Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Strategic Nuclear Orientation Course and Junior Commanders' Course (JCC).
He is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal, the Ati Vishist Seva Medal and the Vayu Medal for distinguished service.
The new assignment is perhaps the best new year gift the Air Chief Marshal Raha will get. As the 24th IAF chief, he will be piloting it in the most crucial phase of its transformation and ensure that its various programmes are achieved and secured on time, a defence analyst said.