While India is under one of the biggest threats and is fighting strong against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19), a lot of efforts are being taken by the Government. The Government has been extending all its support in organizing relief and rescue missions to other countries with the help of National Carrier Air India, on the other hand, the Defence forces of India are also showing their active participation to free India from this COVID-19 epidemic. After the Prime Minister of India declared a 21-day nation-wide lockdown on March 25, 2020, Indian citizens across the globe have received a lot of assistance from the armed forces, especially the Indian Air Force (IAF).
With the active involvement and support of Government agencies like the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs etc., this battle against the deadly virus has been one of the longest. This article will cover the efforts taken by the Indian Air Force aka “Vaayu Sena” to support India and Indians across the globe since February 2020.
ICYMI: We covered a detailed article on how Air India, the National Carrier, has been involved in rescue missions and relief operations. Air India has operated numerous flights within India and to other countries to bring back stranded Indians and repatriate citizens of other countries. Click the below link to read the article.
Feb 26, 2020: Wuhan Rescue Operations
This was one of the first rescue mission taken up by IAF when the Coronavirus epidemic started in Wuhan, China. IAF commissioned a Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft to Wuhan with an aim to airlift stranded Indians. This C-17 had 15 tonnes of medical supplies as well as a trained and experienced medical team on-board. The aircraft departed from New Delhi on February 26 and landed back on February 27, 2020 early morning with 112 citizens (76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals). The 36 nationals belonged to 7 countries – Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): Globemaster landed at 6:45 am today from China with 112 evacuees, including 36 foreign nationals. All evacuees will be taken to the ITBP quarantine facility in Chhawla, Delhi after their thermal screening. #COVID2019 #CoronaVirus pic.twitter.com/7RTMVbOW5u
— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2020
Air India also operated two rescue flights to Wuhan to bring back stranded Indian citizens back home. Check out our extensive article that covered the operation in detail.
Mar 9, 2020: Iran Rescue Operations
Evacuation Mission #2, it’s destination Iran! Early March saw the number of Coronavirus cases skyrocket in Iran, Spain, Italy and more countries around the world. IAF commissioned a Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft to Tehran, Iran. The mission was to airlift stranded Indians and also to set up a laboratory for collecting samples. Iran had over 1000+ Indian citizens – including students and pilgrims – who were stranded due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The C-17 Globemaster aircraft returned returned back on March 10 with 58 Indian pilgrims (25 men, 31 women and 2 children) and swab samples of 529 other Indians from Iran. All the passengers and crew were quarantined at the medical facility set up at Hindon Ai Force Station, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
This mission also received praise from The US Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, as follows –
The safety & security of citizens is of the utmost importance, especially in challenging times. Pleased to see @IAF_MCC deploying @Boeing C-17s to evacuate Indian citizens back home. This unique aircraft has greatly enhanced #India’s disaster response capabilities.
The safety & security of citizens is of the utmost importance, especially in challenging times. Pleased to see @IAF_MCC deploying @Boeing C-17s to evacuate Indian citizens back home. This unique aircraft has greatly enhanced #India’s disaster response capabilities. AGW https://t.co/V4qsVjZuSG
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) March 10, 2020
The External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar tweeted “Mission Completed. On to the next.” after the successful completion of the mission.
The IAF aircraft has landed. Mission completed.
On to the next.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 10, 2020
Mar 19, 2020: Rescue Ops. at Leh
#SavingLives – IAF evacuated more than 60 stranded civilians (due to #COVID19) from Leh to Padam, today. One Pregnant woman airlifted to Leh for medical assistance.
All precautions are being strictly followed by #IAF for the safety of crew & civilians.@DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/uDEdnE7N0d
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) March 19, 2020
IAF deployed their Mi-17 helicopter unit to Leh to rescue to stranded civilians. The rescue operation brought the evacuated citizens to Padam. The rescue operation included a pregnant female who was later under safe hands of the medical assistance team. As always, IAF comes to the rescue of Indian citizens, anytime, anywhere!
Mar 26, 2020: Delivered critical medical equipment to Jammu & Kashmir
While the nation was declared to be in a complete lockdown by the Prime Minister of India, it was essential for the relief essentials to reach numerous places in the country. IAF was given this task to assist the Government in order to deliver important medical supplies.
The UT of Jammu and Kashmir had procured 150 knapsack mechanized boom sprays and 3000 litres of QAC to fight the virus. However, the shipment had been in Surat and needed to be delivered on an urgent basis to Jammu and Kashmir. IAF deployed it’s Antonov AN-32 for this mission and the entire shipment was delivered on time. The AN-32 is a twin engine turboprop transport aircraft. With the Indian Air Force, the AN-32 is referred to as Sutlej (named after Sutlej River) and serves as a medium transport aircraft in the IAF fleet.
The Mayor of Srinagar thanked the efforts of the IAF crew in delivering the crucial equipment on time –
A crucial cargo airlift for SMC is finally underway at midnight! Indebted to @ChinarcorpsIA and @IAF_MCC for helping us at SMC get our procured 150 knapsack mechanized boom sprayers and an additional 3,000 liters of QAC from Surat! This will tremendously enhance our capacity!
— The Mayor of Srinagar (@MayorofS) March 25, 2020
Mar 28, 2020: Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi speaks to IAF Sgt P K Dhaka
The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi spoke to Sgt P K DHAKA who was a part of IAF’s medical team and had been to Wuhan on the rescue mission. Prime Minister congratulated Sgt P K DHAKA and everyone in the IAF for showing this dedication towards duty. You can listen to the conversation between them below:
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in conversation with IAF's Sgt PK DHAKA Medical Assistant, who was part of the C-17 evacuation team to Wuhan, China.The rescue mission was launched to evacuate stranded Indian Citizens in Wuhan due to #COVID2019.
Posted by Indian Air Force on Saturday, March 28, 2020
Mar 30, 2020: Delivering essentials to Nagaland and Manipur
On March 30, 2020, an IAF Lockheed Martin C130J Super Hercules touched down in Dimapur, Nagaland. The C-130J is a cargo and airlift aircraft used for special operations.
The aircraft belonging to 77 squadron of IAF’s Hindon airbase carried essential relief materials such as ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPEs), masks, gloves, and sanitizers, weighing about 8 tonnes for the people of Nagaland for fighting against COVID-19.
This task of IAF had received special mention from the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri. Neiphiu Rio. Shri. Rio thanked our air warriors who helped the state of Nagaland with these essentials on-time. Yet another successful Mission!
The official statement released by Nagaland Government says –
“The airlift support operation was possible because of the close coordination by state government officials, Dimapur based project office (IAF), HQ EAC Shillong, Air Hq (VB), MoD and DRC, Nagaland House, New Delhi. The IAF has always been proactive contributing immensely towards state disaster management relief, support missions and aid of civil administration for Nagaland state in the past also. The Air support missions have saved many public lives in remote areas of the state and has contributed immensely to the people.”
The aircraft later took off for Imphal airport in Manipal and delivered medical equipment weighing about 5 tonnes. (Source: Deccan Herald)
Mar 31, 2020: Medical supplies to Vijayawada
IAF deployed their workhorse machine, the Antonov An-32, to deliver important medical supplies to Vijayawada. IAF along with Vijayawada Airport delivered this important shipment to the people on time.
Apr 1, 2020: Relief operation to Arunachal Pradesh
While IAF keeps conducting nationwide relief operations to continue the fight against COVID-19, an important medical equipment had to reach the state of Arunachal Pradesh. With its professionalism and always ready to serve the nation attitude, the team delivered this medical equipment on schedule. IAF deployed their Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to Dibrugarh, Arunachal Pradesh.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the tactical airlift aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri. Pema Khandu appreciated the efforts of the IAF personnel for their immediate action in providing assistance to the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Apr 2, 2020: Operation Sanjeevani to Maldives
COVID-19’s global outrage has been hampering almost all the countries. India’s neighbouring country, Maldives had fallen short of relief materials. A special cargo flight operated by the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules was deployed for this mission named “Operation Sanjeevani“.
This task was successfully carried by IAF with regular support and assistance from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs and other Govt. agencies. Check out the below video shared by IAF of this special relief operation.
IAF airlifted critical medical supplies to Male 'Operation Sanjeevani'. Maldives has faced shortage of essential medical supplies – after #COVID19 lockdown. 1/2#HarKaamDeshKeNaam pic.twitter.com/KPZoSkLl2x
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 2, 2020
Apr 2, 2020: Essentials to Leh
IAF ensured that the citizens of the country residing in the Union Territory of Leh and Ladakh received essentials regularly. In order to cater to this need, a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landed at Leh AFS with regular essentials. The C-17 is effective in tactical and strategic airlift missions, and for transporting troops and cargo throughout the world.
The MP of Ladakh, Shri Jamyang Tsering Namgyal thanked the IAF for their service on his Twitter account.
गाजियाबाद के हिंडन एयरफोर्स स्टेशन से आज 32 टन सब्जियां और जरूरी मेडिकल जिंस आइटम लेह, लद्दाख भेजे गए।@rajnathsingh @DefenceMinIndia @IAF_MCC @R_K_Mathur @lg_ladakh @ladags और सभी संबंधित अधिकारियों को धन्यवाद। pic.twitter.com/Jntn3hTl7n
— Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (@MPLadakh) April 2, 2020
In addition to this operation, IAF also carried out relief operations from nodal points to Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Bareilly and Agra in the central region.
Apr 4, 2020: Special operations to Nagaland and Manipur
For the second time in two weeks, the North Eastern Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur received consignment of PPEs, masks, sanitizers, hand gloves and other essentials with the help of Indian Air Force. This time, IAF deployed their Ilyushin IL-76 cargo aircraft to deliver these essentials.
Apr 6, 2020: Helicopter operations to Gangtok
In a special mission, the IAF’s Helicopter unit was deployed from West Bengal’s Bagdogra to Sikkim’s Gangtok to transport essential materials. This mission was successfully accomplished with the IAF’s Mi-17V5, the military transport helicopter.
Apr 6, 2020: Operations to Odisha
Two Antonov An-32 aircraft were deployed from Tambaram to airlift 19 personnel and 3500 kgs of medical equipment to Bhubaneswar. This mission included equipment for Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in order to set up medical lab and facilities in Bhubaneswar. Movement Control Unit (MCU) Tambaram carried out the screening, loading of entire cargo & passengers safely for this operation.
Apr 8, 2020: Airlifting Raw materials from Mumbai
IAF’s Antonov AN-32 transport aircraft airlifted 3 tons of raw materials for the production of PPE from Mumbai to Bengaluru. This airlift operation was carried out to support the production of PPE which was undertaken by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Apr 9, 2020: Operations to Ladakh
IAF delivered 19 tons of daily essentials such as Milk, Egg, Sugar etc. for Ladakh with the help of Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The shipment had been delivered from Chandigarh for the citizens who are locked down in Ladakh due to the ongoing COVID-19. Mission Accomplished!
Today 19 Tons of essntial commodities like Milk, Egg, Sugar etc. for Ladakh delivered to Leh from Chandigarh through @IAF_MCC Airlifting.@GulistanLadakh@PMOIndia @narendramodi @AmitShah @amitmalviya @DefenceMinIndia @rajnathsingh @kishanreddybjp @blsanthosh @drharshvardhan pic.twitter.com/hbRmutfgRx
— Jamyang Tsering Namgyal (@MPLadakh) April 9, 2020
Apr 10, 2020: Transporting essentials to Srinagar
Along with delivering the daily essentials, an Antonov An-32 of IAF landed with some important materials into Srinagar. This shipment included PPEs, COVID-19 testing kits, raw materials, masks and other support materials.
Apr 11, 2020: Delivering essentials to Srinagar
In addition to the daily supply of Essential/Life-Saving drugs, IAF deployed an additional flight to Srinagar that carried COVID testing/Rx material, PPEs, Masks & support material.
Just to keep everyone informed: Alongwith regular supply of Essential/Life-Saving drugs, another flight landed with #COVID testing/Rx material, PPEs, Masks & support material. #Srinagar @IAF_MCC pic.twitter.com/YaU5blXGIY
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) April 11, 2020
In addition to this, the IAF transported critical medical supplies & essential commodities to Hyderabad, Imphal, Dimapur, Jamnagar, Leh & Srinagar on their C-17, C-130J, An-32 aircraft & Mi-17V5 helicopter. Another day, yet another set of successful missions!
April 11, 2020: #BondBeyondBorders – Emergency assistance to State of Kuwait
Yet another request from a foreign country and responded with full support! IAF airlifted a 15-member team comprising of Medical personnel along with medical equipment to the State of Kuwait on the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. The army team deployed on this mission after Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assistance. IAF is helping India in taking all efforts to extend full support to friendly Foreign Nations during these crisis situations.
#BondBeyondBorders :Today, 01 C130 airlifted #IndianCovidWarriors team comprising of Medical personnel along with medical equipment towards assistance to State of Kuwait.
Team India is making all efforts to extend full support to friendly Foreign Nations.#HarKaamDeshKeNaam pic.twitter.com/jSr9QM9ePW
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 11, 2020
April 13, 2020 – Mumbai to Srinagar
On April 13, IAF airlifted 44 evacuees from Mumbai to Srinagar on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. These evacuees were the quarantining evacuees (including 24 women) who were brought back from Iran & spent 30 days in the Naval quarantine facility. All were dropped home safely, after each tested negative for Coronavirus.
IAF’s C-130 airlifted 44 evacuees from Mumbai to Srinagar on 12 Apr 20. These quarantining evacuees (including 24 women) were from Iran & spent 30 days in the Naval quarantine facility. All were dropped home safely, after each tested negative for #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/k000GasB1J
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 13, 2020
April 19 – Medical supplies to Lengpui
Dornier DO-228 of IAF landed at Lengpui Airport with some critical medical supplies. 9 boxes of these medical supplies had landed which were sent by ICMR-HIMR. Mission accomplished!
April 21 and 22, 2020 – Hindan, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur to UT of J&K
IAF airlifted a total of 485 people from Hindan, Jaisalmer & Jodhpur to UT of J&K and Ladakh on 21& 22 Apr 2020. The evacuees were quarantined at various facilities, and on completion of the quarantine period, they were tested for #Covid19 and found negative.
April 24, 2020 – Jaisalmer to Srinagar & Jodhpur to Leh
On April 24, 2020, IAF’s transport workhorses, namely the C-130J and the IL-76 were set on a mission. The mission was to airlift evacuees from Jaisalment and Jodhpur respectively. The airplanes successfully accomplished this mission and the people successfully landed back to Srinagar and Leh by these birds.
Today, IAF's C130 & IL-76 aircraft airlifted 52 & 205 evacuees from Jaisalmer to Srinagar & Jodhpur to Leh respectively.
All these people tested negative for #coronavirus after the quarantine period. #IndianCovidWarriors #indianairforce@SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/JbACes6sJ6
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 24, 2020
Daily Routine: Delivering essentials across India
While India is still under a complete lockdown, IAF’s warriors are on duty round the clock to deliver essentials across the country. In a recent update by IAF, on April 10, 2020, C-17, C-130J, IL-76, An-32 & Dornier aircraft dropped essential loads of materials to the cities at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Trivandrum and Leh. These aircraft even transported Army doctors from Lucknow to Guwahati for treating the COVID-19 patients.
आज, भारतीय वायु सेना के C-17, C-130, IL-76, An-32 और Dornier विमान ने मुंबई, बेंगलुरु, गुवाहाटी, त्रिवेंद्रम और लेह में आवश्यक सामान पहुंचाया। जिसमें लखनऊ से गुवाहाटी तक सेना के डॉक्टरों की शिफ्टिंग भी शामिल है।#IndianCovidWarriors#भारतीय_वायु_सेना#IndiaFightsCorona #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/NpKiqYiQHC
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 10, 2020
April 12 – As part of the daily duties, the IAF warriors delivered medical supplies & logistics to Union Territory (UT) of J&K, UT of Ladakh, Guwahati, Dimapur, Imphal, Trivandrum, Thanjavur, Sulur & Andaman.
#HarKaamDeshKeNaam :IAF & #IndianCovidWarriors are actively supporting the Govt of India to contain & combat spread of Novel Coronavirus.#IndiaFightsCorona#COVID19 #IndianAirForce pic.twitter.com/LhBQW745Mu
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 12, 2020
Some general Do’s and Don’ts by IAF
In these tough times of crisis, IAF believes in educating and sharing equal amount of knowledge in all forms with the people of India. In order to fight this battle, IAF has shared some really important Do’s and Don’ts with their social audience. Its essential that we follow these basic points to stay safe and keep ourselves healthy.
As we, the citizens of India #StayHome, these men in uniform – our Air warriors – have been relentlessly taking to the skies and risking their lives to ensure we receive our daily essentials. This goes to show the passion to their nation and their duties. The below tweet shows the tireless efforts put in by them with a smile to support the fight against COVID-19. (#HarKaamDeshKeNaam)
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) April 11, 2020
On behalf of our readers and the entire citizens of India, we salute our brave IAF heroes and warriors for their continued support during these tough times. JAI HIND!