Who is Idris Hassan Latif? Former IAF chief dies at 94

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 2, 2018

Air chief marshal Idris Hassan Latif (retired), the former chief of the Indian Air Force, died in a private hospital in Hyderabad on Monday, April 30. Our deepest condolences to his family & friends. He also participated in the Burma campaign.

The Indian Express reported that following Partition, Latif spurned an offer to join the Pakistan Air Force and made a decision to join the IAF instead. Lt. Noor Khan. Both the pilots went on to become Chiefs of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force.

He had the honour of serving both the Royal Indian Air Force prior to the Independence and the Indian Air Force after India became free.

He also trained pilots in the Indonesian Air Force and served as air attaché to the Indian ambassador in the USA and Indian high commissioner in Canada in 1961. He was associated with the Royal Indian Air Force, Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force. Latif is the only Muslim to have served as the head of any of the three wings of the Indian armed forces. "It was no surprise that Latif made his way to become the first Muslim Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force", notes an IAF website.

After the war, Latif on, promotion to the Squadron Leader, became the Commanding Officer of No.4 Oorials, flying the Hawker Tempest.

Latif was in the eastern sector at Shillong when the surrender in East Pakistan occurred. His role in providing relief to the flood hit people of Patna in 1975 is commendable. "Latif created a distinct mark of his work as Air Force Chief and later as Governor of Maharashtra".

Born on June 9, 1923 at Hyderabad, Idris Hassan Latif was studied at the Nizam " s College in the city. After a short while, he took over Maintenance Command. During the 1971 War, Latif was still the (Assistant Chief of Air Staff) ACAS (Plans). He was instrumental in seeking government approval for the procurement of the Jaguar strike aircraft, a proposal which was lying dormant for over 8 years.

Idris also held negotiations with the Russians and saw the induction of the MiG-23 and later, the MiG-25 aircraft into the IAF.

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