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Air Marshal Karnik to take over as SASO, Western Air Command

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Air Marshal Ajay Shriniwas Karnik will take over tomorrow as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of the Western Air Command, one of the senior-most operational commands of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1972, Air Marshal Karnik has flown over 3000 hours on fighter aircraft like MiG-21 Bis and MiG-29.

A Fighter Combat Leader and a Qualified Flying Instructor, he is an alumnus of the Air War College, University of USAF, Montgomery, in the United States.

Having trained in the erstwhile Soviet Union on MiG-29, he went on to command a prestigious MiG-29 Squadron. He has also commanded important operational Air Force bases in the Western Desert Sector and the Western Coastal Region of India.

An official press release said Air Marshal Karnik had vast experience in operational flying, training, Command and Staff Appointments, having served as Head of Training Team (Air) and Senior Instructor at the premier tri-services Defence Staff College, Wellington.

He has also served as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at Southern Air Command (SAC) and as Senior Air Staff Officer at Head Quarters Eastern Air Command (EAC), Shillong, making him the most operational Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force. During his tenure at Head Quarters Eastern Air Command, he has been instrumental in conducting various Disaster Relief Operations in the difficult terrain of the North Eastern India. He was also instrumental in the infrastructure development of North Eastern region of Eastern Air Command, the release said.

He has been awarded Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal by the President of India for his distinguished service of very high order, the release added.

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