President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the President’s Colours to the Corps of Army Air Defence on Saturday.
The President’s Colours were received by the Army Air Defence Centre on the behalf of the Corps of Army Air Defence at Gopalpur Military Station.
“The Indian armed forces in general and the Corps of Army Air Defence, in particular, have a glorious legacy in protecting the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” President Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, said.
The President’s Colours is the highest honour bestowed upon a regiment in recognition of their contribution to the security of the nation, he said.
The programme was attended by Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
While highlighting the achievements of the air defence corps, the President hailed the role played by the defence forces in keeping the country’s frontiers secure.
He recalled how the Air Defence troops participated in various operations during the World War II, such as the Burma Campaign, the siege of Imphal and Kohima, recapture of Rangoon, operations in Arakan, Myitkyina, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Bahrain, Iraq and Persia.
They won multiple gallantry awards — four Military Crosses, one Medal of the British Empire, seven Indian Distinguished Service Medals and two Orders of the British Empire — during the war, he said.
The Air Defence has been in existence since 1940 as a part of the Corps of Artillery, but it got recognition as an independent arm in 1994.
The Corps of Army Air Defence has been awarded two Ashoka Chakras, two Kirti Chakras, 20 Vir Chakras, nine Shaurayas Chakras, 113 Sena Medals and 55 Mention-in- despatches in addition to four Honour Titles awarded during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The President was presented the Rashtriya Salute at a parade during the programme.
Ram Nath Kovind, who was on a two-day visit to Odisha, had arrived here along with his wife Savita Kovind.
After landing at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar Friday afternoon, the first couple had left for Gopalpur aboard an IAF chopper.
Spread over 2,700 acres, the Army Air Defence Centre is the training school for the personnel of the Air Defence Corps of the Army.