The Dakota was inducted into the IAF in 1946. It was the first transport plane of the Indian Air Force. Initially 10 Daks as they were popularly called were inducted into the IAF. Within a year these planes were put to use in the Kashmir valley. In 1948 with the raiders from Pakistan approaching Srinagar airfield, the first Dak with 28 troops of the Sikh regiment were flown to Srinagar.
The Dak was also used to land at Leh, the highest airfield in the world. I first flew ina Dak when I was in school as we were taken up tolearn about what 'flying experince' means. The Dak remained in service with the IAF for almost 3 decades.
The major use of the Daota was in the Eastern part of India. Here 2 squadrons of transports operating from Jorhat were equipped with Dakotas. Their mission to drop supplies to the far outposts of the army. The Dakota did yeoman service in this sphere and its accident rate despite the inclement weather was almost zero.
The Dak was hoever a slow aircraft with a limited cargo capacity. Hence the IAF replaced it with the Russian AN-32. Compared to the Dak the AN 32 was a modern plane with a greater pay load capacity. However the DAk has become a legend. Pilots who have flown the plane will vouchsafe that this 'lovely bird' was one of the most loved planes in the IAF inventory.