Air India tells crew to end broadcasts with 'Hail India!'

NEW DELHI • Indian flag carrier Air India yesterday reminded its cabin crew to follow all announcements with a rousing cry of "Hail India!" as nationalistic fervour grips the nation in its latest military stand-off with Pakistan.

"With immediate effect, all are required to announce 'Jai Hind' at the end of every announcement after a slight pause and with much fervour," the national carrier's head of operations said in a circular.

A spokesman told Agence France-Presse the order was first issued in 2017 but a reminder was required because new staff had joined.

It comes as India's biggest military stand-off with Pakistan in years triggered a rise in patriotism, stoked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of looming elections.

India's excitable news channels have gone into overdrive and people have been flocking to a film about an Indian special forces incursion into Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Its catchphrase "How's the josh?" - meaning "How's the fervour?" - has been widely quoted on and offline, with government ministers employing it at political rallies.

An Indian fighter pilot who was shot down, captured and then released by Pakistan has become a national hero, with some copying his handlebar moustache.


The latest crisis between the nuclear-armed Asian foes was sparked by a suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir that left about 40 Indian paramilitaries dead on Feb 14.

India launched air strikes inside Pakistan 12 days later, and an aerial dogfight between the two countries' air forces over Kashmir broke out the next day.

Tens of thousands attended funerals and solidarity marches around India for the slain men, with some setting fire to Pakistani flags. The group that claimed credit for the attack is based in Pakistan.

Islamabad's release of the pilot last Friday eased international alarm although tensions remain high, with both sides firing shells and mortars over their de facto border in Kashmir.

Indian media reports said a Pakistani military drone was shot down over northern India on Monday, while Islamabad yesterday said it had prevented an Indian submarine from entering its waters.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Air India tells crew to end broadcasts with 'Hail India!''. Print Edition | Subscribe