Red letter day for IAF with women fighter pilots checking in: Parrikar
Dundigal (Hyderabad): Flying Officers Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh became the first women pilots to get inducted into the fighter stream of Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday.
The three pilots were conferred the President’s Commission at the Air Force Academy (AFA) in Dundigal with their families, friends and course mates cheering them during the Passing out Parade (PoP).
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was the chief guest at the PoP, termed the event as a ‘golden red letter day’ in IAF’s inspiring history, while addressing the media.
“It is a milestone graduation parade. These three women pilots are extremely good in their chosen combat roles. This will inspire more and more women to attempt for the combat flying wing of the IAF,” Parrikar said.
The trio will now head to Bidar for their next level training on Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers.
To a query as to when the pilots would finally get to fly the fighters, Parrikar said they would do so within a year. He, however, couldn’t reply on the type of fighter platform they would first get to fly.
He said the armed forces are keen to give women equal opportunities, though many areas of technical difficulties still to be sorted out. “We need more facilities to be in place. We need to have submarines designed for both men and women. Even we have problems in combat ships as well to accommodate women officers,” the minister added.
Earlier, speaking at the PoP Parrikar wanted the newly-commissioned officers to widen their horizon and keep pace with the swiftly advancing technology to exploit the true potential of the aerospace power.
“Keeping in view the changing geo-political and strategic environment and varied security challenges faced by India, I urge the young officers to give their best, as future leaders of the IAF, and take it to next higher level of performance by dynamically adapting to the newer environment,” Parrikar said.
Photos: Sharath Pillai/Tarmak007