Indian Navy's oldest air station completes 69 years in service of nation
From supporting Royal Airforce activities in the 1940s, the air station has come a long way and plays a major role major operational and training role, as the only Naval Air station under India's Southern Naval Command.
INS Garuda, the oldest Air Station of the Indian Navy completed 69 years in service of the nation. Originally setup as a British-era airfield to support Royal Airforce activities, the base came up in the Kochi city in the Southern state of Kerala, on India's west coast. From supporting Royal Airforce activities in the 1940s, the air station has come a long way and plays a major role major operational and training role, as the only Naval Air station under India's Southern Naval Command.
In 1941, the airfield was setup to support the Royal Airforce and two years later it was established as a Royal Navy Air Station to support Royal Navy ships. In 1952, five years after India's independence, the base was rechristened 'Venduruthy II' and later in 1953 commissioned as INS Garuda, by the then Indian Defence Minister Mahavir Tyagi.
Among the major contemporary roles of INS Garuda include the active conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations in the Indian Ocean Region. The station has played a significant role in the enormous air efforts that were carried out to aid Kerala during the devastating 2018 floods. Recently, a Naval helicopter from INS Garuda had also provided emergency medical evacuation for a foreign Navy sailor and brought her to shores for treatment, following which she was repatriated.
In his address, Commodore VB Bellary, Commanding Officer, INS Garuda emphasized on the need to always remain operationally ready and reiterated the station's commitment towards meeting all tasks.