Fighting women in the skies
In the Asian Aage, Jun 19, 2016 – India’s first women fighter pilots (from left), Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth. (Photo: PTI)
(Note: Yes, created history in the skies! When are Indian women going to create history on the ground securing 30 percent reservation in parliament? As for acting in aggressive roles, if women in gulf countries opting to become suicide bombs to defend some of their idiotic religious convictions why can’t our women take risks for the nobler cause of defending one’s fatherland? james kottoor, editor)
The Indian Air Force created history on Saturday by inducting three women as fighter pilots. The three, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, were formally commissioned by defence minister Manohar Parrikar at the passing out parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Andhra Pradesh.
Mr Parrikar said that induction of three women officers in the fighter squadron combat roles was a milestone and a step towards creating gender parity in the armed forces. “It is a golden letter day. This should open up opportunities for more and more women in the force,” he said.
The defence minister said that by next year, the three women Flying Officers would complete their advanced training and would be able to fly fighter jets like Sukhoi and Tejas. Six female cadets had competed to become fighter pilots, and three were selected for the fighter stream.
Indicating that more women would be inducted in combat roles in other wings of the armed forces, he said that the forces need to build more gender-friendly facilities to accommodate woman.
“There are technical and administrative difficulties which we are likely to face in certain areas. So, step-by-step we will see that parity is achieved. The numbers will depend on how many we can accommodate depending on our infrastructure,” he said.
Elaborating on the limited infrastructure for women, Mr Parrikar said, “For example, submarines have to be designed to accommodate both genders because space availability is very less as they are designed in a particular manner. In combat ships too, similar difficulties exist.”
Answering a question on whether women would be pressed into actual combat roles, the minister said, “If women of armed forces in the Gulf countries can be engaged in offensive roles, I do not see why our forces should not have women officers in combat roles.”
Mr Parrikar, who reviewed the passing out parade, conferred the President’s Commission on behalf of the President on 130 Flight Cadets, including 22 women trainees, who were commissioned as Flying Officers.