IAF officer who played key role in Rafale delivery hero back home in Kashmir
NEW DELHI: When India’s first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft took off from France’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility for India on Monday, it would have come as a “personal triumph” to Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather.
Presently India's Air Attache in France, the native of Anantnag in Kashmir has played a key role in ensuring delivery of Rafale jets to the country. Rather, son of a retired DSP, spent all of last year weaponizing the combat aircraft to suit Indian conditions. He is credited with helping the project management team add 13 fresh capabilities to the Indian version of the jet.
With the jets due to land in India on Wednesday, the 52-year-old — who also supervised refuelling training of a team of 152 IAF technicians and 27 fighter pilots with French tanks — is being hailed as a hero back home.
Junaid Ahmad, Rather’s neighbour, said he was an inspiration to Kashmiri youth. “He has made us proud,” he said. User Vijay Zutshi wrote on Facebook, “I really feel proud to know about Commodore Hilal, a man from our mohalla (colony) and town Bakshiabad, Anantnag. I wish him all the success.”
As tributes poured in on social media, those close to Rather said he has had an impeccable service record. A fighter combat leader and a qualified flying instructor, Rather commanded Mirage-2000 Squadron and a front line Air Force base in Gwalior. His accident-free flying of jets like MIG 21, Mirage and Kiran was a useful experience that helped him while coordinating with the French project management team in Bordeaux over 35 advanced functions of the Rafale jet.
An alumnus of Sainik School (J &K), Rather earned a Sword of Honour — the highest award to a cadet — during his training at the National Defence Academy.
A family member told TOI, “Hilal’s father was with the police in J&K when he got commissioned into the IAF in 1988. The family often faced threats and while others got married in their sprawling bungalow in Anantnag, Rather had to rent out a two-room flat in Nagrota in Jammu two days before his marriage in 1993 for safety reasons."
Along with Rather, Indian ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf was also crucial in ensuring delivery of Rafale jets to India. The combat jets are reaching India four years after an agreement between the two countries was signed in 2016.
People like him makes the community & India proud.
Our press will ensure that they print everything related to his family and friends...they will make sure terrorists take a note of it. He is an asset, pls do not make him vulnerable. Jai hind
TOI should have not disclosed his identity , may be his life is at risk, go nment should provide protection to him.
What an amazing story. I truly wish all misguided Kashmiri youth give up arms and head to the Navy or Airforce and make themselves, KASHMIR and India proud like Rather.
He is Indian first then proud Kashmiri.
Mujeer Ahmed Khan
Proud to be Indian!!!
A true son of Mother India.
Dear Air Commodore Hilal Ahmed. Salute you Sir. Extremely proud of you. Whole India loves you.
we feel proud of you Sir. country must encourage such brave sons of India .
Is it correct to identify the officer even if the intention is good? There are so many idiots in the state and the Pakis proxy prowling around who may then start to look at him as a target. It is better to keep the identies under wrap as an additional protection to these committed brave officers
We are fortunate to have a Leader like Mr.Modi to serve the nation with team of talented credible officer like Sir Rather. Proud to be an Indian. Jai Hind.
My salute & regards to the Indian Hero. Jai Hind.
Every Kashmiri is an Indian.! he is the best among them !
He is such an inspiration to all. May God bless him and family.
Real hero for kashmiri youth ,salute you Rather sir
Why identify him in public in current Kashmir situation.
This is proof enough that Kashmiris are not lacking in their patriotism if Pakistan and Pak supported separatists donot meddle in Kashmir.
Govt should take care of his and his family's safety back home in J&K..
John K V
Congrats. He is a role model to other Kashmiris. God bless him and his family .
So why are these details shared so openly - to get him killed by terrorists.
Someone needs to investigate who from IAF releases these details...
Proud of you Sir
Key peoples name behind any critical project should not be revealed to public. This is for safety concern.
Hats off to the son of Inida. your services are appreciated. You have made us proud.
Wow . A role model for many. Congratulations to parents for raising such a son. Salute to the family.
why you people are not sensible
why are you sharing the details of residence of officers, you are putting their family into risk
Proud of our hero...