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Singapore air show: IAF aerobatic team Sarang cannot take part due to delay in Ministry approval

Sky high: The Air Force's helicopter display team Sarang performing at the Thanjavur airbase on Jan. 20, 2020.

Sky high: The Air Force's helicopter display team Sarang performing at the Thanjavur airbase on Jan. 20, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

For over a month, MoD has not cleared Sarang’s participation in Singapore air show

Extreme delay in getting approval from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has meant that the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter aerobatic team Sarang cannot perform at the Singapore air show 2020. The rejection comes despite Singapore giving extra time for confirmation, official sources said.

“Singapore has conveyed that with very limited time for the commencement of the airshow, there are significant airspace and safety considerations involved which cannot be met within the remaining time frame,” a Defence source said.

The Singapore air show is scheduled from February 11 to 16 at the Changi exhibition centre. The source said approvals were delayed at various levels in the MoD and hence the final decision was delayed. “The file has been with the MoD for over a month with no observations,” the source added.

Delhi unresponsive

“We were hoping the Sarang team would join in. The deadline was December end. But they have still not responded. We cannot wait indefinitely as there are lot of arrangements to be made,” diplomatic sources told The Hindu.

In addition to the participation of Sarang team, Singapore also requested quick confirmation of the participation of IAF Chief at the airshow which is also pending with just two weeks left to the airshow. On this, Singapore has conveyed that they look forward to welcome the participation of ACM Bhadauria and asked India to confirm his participation at the earliest in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Diplomatic sources expressed confidence that the IAF Chief would be able to participate in the airshow. “We ware waiting the confirmation. If it is too delayed they wont get the preferred time for bilateral interactions with various visiting delegations,” a source added.

There are more than 50 countries participating in the Singapore airshow and it is a good opportunity to interact with the visiting military delegations, another source stated.

The Sarang team flies four indigenously built ALH Dhruv helicopters painted in red and white and a peacock figure at the each side of the fuselage. It was formed in 2002 and coincidentally the first public display was on February 23, 2004 during Asian Aerospace at Singapore.The Sarang team is based at Sulur near Coimbatore.

Commenting on the development, former Navy Chief Adm Arun Prakash said on Twitter, “This is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for participation or visit abroad of Indian military personnel - no matter how high ranking. Whether it is a course, seminar or function, the ‘case file’ awaits MoD approval till evening before departure. Either the Indian(s) don’t show up, or arrive late. Shameful!,”

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In the above article, the last paragraph erroneously said the Sarang team was based at the Yelahanka Air Force station. Actually, the Sarang unit is based at Sulur near Coimbatore. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 6:53:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/singapore-air-show-iaf-aerobatic-team-sarang-cannot-take-part-due-to-delay-in-ministry-approval/article30669167.ece

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