Air Marshal R.D. Mathur calling on Arunachal governor B.D. Mishra and chief minister Pema Khandu. Image credit - Twitter

Air officer commanding-in-chief of Eastern Air Command (EAC), Air Marshal R.D. Mathur called on Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and governor Brig (Retd) B.D. Mishra at Itanagar on Thursday.

While meeting Khandu, Air Marshal Mathur extended his gratitude to the Arunachal Pradesh government for the support and assistance extended to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the search and rescue operations after the unfortunate crash of an AN-32 aircraft in the hills of Shi-Yomi district.

The AoC said only with the active support and cooperation of the state government through its district administrations and local people, the daunting task of retrieving the bodies of the air-warriors could be completed.

Mathur said unfortunately airlifting of the rescuers, which included local mountaineer Taka Tamut, was delayed due to inclement weather and they had to camp in the mountains for almost 11 days.

The Air Marshal, however, informed that enough ration was airdropped for the rescue team to survive another 15 days.

As an expression of gratitude, Mathur said that IAF would suitably honour the local persons who helped the force in the mission.

Khandu offered condolences to the departed personnel aboard the ill-fated aircraft and assured cooperation and support to the armed forces when in need.

He also assured that local mountaineer Taka Tamut would be suitably honoured by the state government too.

Air Marshal Mathur and the chief minister also discussed various issues particularly on acquisition of land by IAF for defense purposes.

Acquisition of land for firing range in East Kameng district and for strategic installations in Shi-Yomi and Tawang districts were discussed in detail.

The IAF also offered to construct high-rise boundary wall around the firing range at Dollungmukh in Lower Subansiri district so that splinters do not go out and animals or people do not come in.

The chief minister requested the IAF to take the local administration into confidence and alert in advance with regard to firing exercises by IAF at Dollungmukh.

The meeting was also attended by chief secretary Satya Gopal and secretary to CM Sonam Chombay.

Air Marshal Mathur on the day also called on governor Brig (Retd) B. D. Mishra at Raj Bhavan and discussed about the recent aircraft crash, air assistances to the state government and its people during emergencies and other situations and scope for employment of local youth in the IAF.

Conveying his deep condolences for the bereaved families of the IAF officers and personnel who lost their life in duty in the recent AN-32 aircraft crash, the governor said the people of Arunachal Pradesh share the pain of the irreparable loss and will always remember the sacrifices of the air warriors.

The governor also conveyed his appreciation to the Eastern Air Command for its help in recently concluded Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections and for its proactive role in providing assistance to the people of Arunachal during emergencies and call of duty.

The governor, who has been spear heading the effort for the employment of local youth in the Indian Armed Forces through his programmes like ‘Pay back to Society Group’ asked Mathur to explore the possibility for an enhanced quota of recruitment for the youth of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Air Marshal welcomed the concerns of the governor and assured him that the Eastern Air Command will do its best in the service of the people of the Frontier State of Arunachal Pradesh.


Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at:

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