New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Birender Singh Dhanoa retired on Monday and handed over the command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who was appointed as the next IAF Chief by the government on September 19.

With his retirement, the command of Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) passes over to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who, until his own retirement on December 31, will hold the position as the senior-most among the three service chiefs. Dhanoa took over as the CoSC on June 1, 2019, after the retirement of the-then Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

On Monday, ahead of formally handing over the command of the IAF to his successor, he visited and paid tributes at the National War Memorial.

Dhanoa, who took over as the IAF Chief on December 31, 2016 after the retirement of ACM Arup Raha, will be remembered for February’s Balakot airstrikes, in which 12 Mirage 2000s bombed the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan. The IAF carried out the airstrikes in retaliation for the Pulwama suicide attack earlier that month in which over 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were martyred when a JeM suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into their convoy.

Air Marshal Bhadauria, meanwhile, has already been in news recently after it emerged that the tail number of the first Rafale fighter jet, which was received by the IAF on September 20, was named ‘RB-01’ after him.

Bhadauria, incidentally, has the same date of retirement as his predecessor. However, he will now have to serve a three-year term or till the age of 62, whichever is sooner.

He will be the 26th Chief of Staff of the Indian Air Force.