Women in Defence: Army, Navy & IAF Announce Three Historic Firsts

Here’s a look at the three historic announcements made by the Indian Army, Navy and IAF.

2 min read
Here’s a look at the three historic announcements made by the Indian Army, Navy and IAF.

From posting women officers on warships to training female fighter pilots to operate the Rafale jet, three ‘historic’ announcements were either made or indicated by the Indian Navy, Air Force and the Army over the last couple of days.

Here’s a look at them and how this affects women in defence. Read on.

1. Two Women Officers to Be Posted On Indian Navy Warship

In a first, Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh will be the foremost Indian women officers to be be deployed on Navy warships as part of the ship's crew, reported NDTV.

The two officers are expected to eventually fly the navy's new MH-60 R helicopters. According to the report, MH-60R is one of the world's most advanced helicopters, which can be engaged to detect enemy ships and submarines.

Lack of privacy in crew quarters and gender-specific bathroom facilities were earlier cited as reasons for not posting women officers on warships.


2. First Woman Fighter Pilot in Rafale Squadron

Continuing to break barriers, the Indian Air Force's all-make Rafale squadron is set to welcome their first woman fighter pilot. The Rafale is the most advanced inventory of the IAF.

At least 10 women fighter pilots are undergoing training and one of them will begin flying Rafale jets, reported India Today. The name and identity of the fighter pilot has not been revealed due to security concerns.

She will be joining the five male fighter pilots of the Golden Arrows squadron in Ambala.

Four years ago, in 2016, Flight Lieutenant Bhawanna Kanth, Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi, and Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh became India's first women fighter pilots. As of September 2020, the IAF has 1,875 women in service.

3. Indian Army Begins Screening Women Officers for Permanent Commission

Indian Army is screening women officers for permanent commission.

These developments come just days after the Indian Army constituted a special screening board to select women officers for permanent commission.

This has been set in motion after the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict in February 2020, allowing all women officers to hold permanant commission in the army.

A senior general officer and a woman officer of Brigadier rank are members of the board, and those women who qualify the screening will be granted permanent commission.

According to recent figures, there are 1,653 women officers currently serving in the army out of a total of nearly 43,000 officers.

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