‘We have to be prepared for the invisible enemy’

It is a hot Saturday morning in Port Blair and the new occupant of Command House, Air Marshal Saju Balakrishnan, AVSM, VM and his wife are just settling in.

The air marshal is the new Commander-In-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command — CINCAN — the only tri-services theatre command of the Indian armed forces which has enormous strategic and economic importance.

He is the first IAF officer in 10 years to assume the post which is rotated among the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

The couple’s luggage has not yet arrived from the mainland. Port Blair is located about 1,400 kilometres by air from Chennai and is surrounded by the magnificent blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.

The garden at Command House overlooks the ocean and provides a picturesque setting. It is the weekend and the air marshal, a MiG-21 fighter pilot, has just picked up the baton from the previous CINCAN who retired on April 30.

His responsibilities will include a combination of coastal security, providing support to the Andaman and Nicobar administration in multiple areas and most importantly, contributing to the strategic security of the nation.

The A&N theatre comprises a vast expanse of the Indian Ocean which constitutes a large part of the Indian coastline. The protection and security of the around 800 islands is the responsibility of this command.

The air marshal commanded one of the IAF’s biggest stations in Jodhpur, headed the Airborne Warning and Control System unit and formulated the training module of the Agniveers’s induction into the IAF.

“The good part of this command is that it brings together the strengths of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and also the Coast Guard,” says the alumnus of the famous Sainik School Kazhakootam with a voice of calm authority.

“The future will be determined by the way India …read more

Source:: Colombo Gazette