After the incumbent, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, retires on September 30, Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari will assume command of the IAF, the defence ministry announced on Tuesday.
Air Marshal Chaudhari is the Vice Chief of the Air Staff at the moment.
“The government has decided to appoint Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, presently Vice Chief of Air Staff, as the next Chief of the Air Staff after the retirement of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on September 30,” the ministry said in a brief statement.
Chaudhari has served numerous command, staff, and instructional positions until being named Vice Chief of Air Staff on July 1.
He was the commander-in-chief of the Western Air Command (WAC) before becoming Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force. The Western Air Command (WAC) is responsible for the protection of Indian airspace in the sensitive Ladakh region as well as other portions of north India.
Air Marshal Chaudhari, a graduate of the National Defence Academy, was commissioned into the Indian Air Force’s fighter stream on December 29, 1982.
The officer has flown a wide range of fighter and trainer aircraft in the IAF’s inventory during the course of his roughly 38-year service.
He has over 3,800 hours of flight time under his belt, including operational flight time in MiG-21, MiG-23 MF, MiG 29, and Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
He has also commanded a frontline fighter base and served as the commanding officer of a frontline fighter squadron.
Apart from several operational concerns, Air Marshal Chaudhari will have to deal with issues relating to the armed forces’ ambitious theaterization strategy.
The theatre commands are being designed to integrate the capabilities of the three services and ensure that their resources be used to their full potential.
The theatre commands are being established as part of a bigger mission to ensure that the three service chiefs work together to meet future security threats.
Gen. Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff, has been working on bringing the three services closer together and reforming military commands to better deal with future security problems.
The impression that the Indian Air Force has doubts about the theaterization initiative is developing.