“I was good in Math. And, there are many engineers in our family, including my father. During my student days I enjoyed train journey in the company of my father. I picked up initial lessons on life during these travel sessions. I started to dream big during these inspiring journeys,” Anandi Ramalingam ensured the take-off was smooth. Her father was a civil engineer with Indian Railways.

Anandi was elevated as the first woman whole time Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) recently. Till then, she was the General Manager heading the Military Communication Strategic Business Unit at BEL’s Bangalore Complex.

Anandi says her father, now 90 and settled in Coimbatore, always motivated her to lock on to her target.

“Our family always stressed the need for women to get educated. There was no discrimination between boys and girls. This gave me the confidence to take on any challenges in life. The long stays at border areas during various weapon trials made me a stronger woman. The satisfaction for working for the nation is an overwhelming experience all the time,” says Anandi.

After completing her BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore, Anandi joined BEL in 1985. In the next two decades, she bagged diverse experience in equipment testing working across various domains of military communication.

Her contributions for Shakti, the flagship Artillery Combat Command and Control System for Indian Army and AREN (Army Radio Engineered Network) fetched her national attention.

“Recognising her talent, BEL roped her in as part of the team formed to set up the Marketing Division for the Military Communication and Electronic Warfare SBU at Bangalore Complex. The team pioneered proactive business development practices in BEL and gradually assisted other SBUs in establishing effective marketing systems. In 2007, she was elevated as the Marketing Head of the Military Communication SBU where her team could achieve record growth in order book and turnover,” says a BEL spokesperson.

Anandi says she was fortunate enough to be groomed at BEL, fine-tuning her business and technological acumen.

“Accept whatever comes your way. BEL is a way of life for me and its missions have always topped my heart. You got to grab all the opportunities life has to offer. Be alert and aware of the technological developments across the world,” says Anandi.  

In 2010, she moved to the International Marketing Division (IMD) to head Defence Offsets, establishing BEL as a reliance global supply chain partner for multiple foreign OEMs and facilitating substantial growth of BEL’s export order book.

In December 2014, she moved to the National Marketing Division as General Manager. In May 2016, she assumed charge as General Manager of the Military Communication SBU at BEL-Bangalore and steered the business till her recent elevation as Director.

“My father was very happy to know about my promotion and he distributed sweets to friends and relatives in an around R.S. Puram in Coimbatore. It is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. I dedicate this recognition to my dad and his inspiring stories during our train sojourns,” she added.