Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi became the 20th Chief of Air Staff on 31 December 2001. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on 31 December, 1963. He has the distinction of having flown several types of fighter and transport aircraft and has logged over 3000 flying hours. His combat experience includes Combat Air Patrols, as well as Strike and interdiction missions during the 1965 Indo-Pak War. In the 1971 War, he flew MiG-21 aircraft on Air Defence missions.
He has held a number of important field appointments, which include Commanding Officer of a Jaguar Sqn and the Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Jamnagar. As the Defence Attaché in Saudi Arabia, he had a first-hand view of Operation Desert Storm. He has also held many important staff appointments including Director Air Defence, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence), Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Operations) at Air Headquarters and Senior Air Staff Officer, HQ Central Air Command. He has been the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of three Operational Commands - the Central, South-Western and the Western Air Command. Air Chief Marshal Tyagi took over as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee on 31 Oct 2006.
The Air Chief is fond of outdoors and keeping fit. He holds the distinction of being the first ever to have earned ‘para wings’ as ‘Chief’. He is a current and enthusiastic sky-diver. He functions through delegation, is a peoples’ man and a captivating orator. He is the recipient of the Presidential awards of Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal for his exemplary leadership and distinguished service.
He is married to Vandana, they have a son - Anurag and a daughter - Rasika. Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi retired on 31 March 2007, handing over the charge to Air Chief Marshal FH Major.