Woman heading IAF in future a possibility: Arup Raha
Dundigal (Hyderabad): The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha did not rule out the possibility of a woman fighter heading the helm of affairs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in future.
He was speaking to Mathrubhumi soon after attending the landmark event of women pilots being inducted into the fighter stream at Air Force Academy in Dundigal.
“I cannot say no, because the probability is there. If they do well. Normally the Chiefs are from the flying branch. They (the three girls) are already in the flying branch. And, if and when they get permanent commissioned, then will feature,” the IAF Chief said.
The IAF Chief said that the decision of inducting women into the fighter stream is an irreversible one.
“It’s a progressive step. It is going to be a good one. We will increase the intake. The aspirations of women will be looked after,” Air Chief Marshal Raha said.
Air Marshal S R K Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Headquarters Training Command, was very confident that India would, one day in future, might get a woman to head the IAF.
“Why not? Certainly yes. If they are groomed in that direction and if they get promotion by their merit, certainly in future there will be an opportunity to see a woman IAF Chief,” Air Marshal Nair said.
He said in future, the strength of the women pilots at AFA would increase proportionately and many would volunteer into the fighter stream.
“Women pilots are equivalent to male pilots. It is only the mindset and thinking they have to shape. We at in the IAF, we are open. So any women pilot can aspire to become a fighter pilot,” he added.
Finally, when the families of the three women cadets were presented for a media interaction, Mathrubhumi asked Flying Officer Mohana Singh about the future prospects of a woman heading the IAF.
“Chances are there… Now, that we have joined. Prospects are bright. Hopefully, it does,” Mohana said.
Her mother Manju Singh, a teacher by profession, said Mohana is the third generation from her family to join the IAF.
“I am really proud of her for having carried forward the legacy,” Manju said.
Mohana’s grandfather was a Flight Gunner, while her father is still serving the IAF.