Welcoming the Ministry of Defence’s approval of the induction of women into the Fighter (Combat) stream of the Indian Air Force (IAF), aviation expert Praful Bakshi on Saturday said that it is a very important milestone for India.
“It is a very important milestone. The Air Force has always been the first while taking the women officers. It has taken the first step n putting the lady officers in combat,” said Bakshi.
“Both army and navy have the same problem but they have not overcome it… There are difficulties and problems. Many examples have been given in this regard like maternity, etc. But, maternity should not be seen as a problem. It should be treated as a condition which could be overcome. Each maternity leave lasts for year and a half. Get more pilots in the air force. Increase the strength and maintain the balance,” he further said.
He insisted that India, unlike other countries, is not doing this for publicity and will make sure that the women pilots do fighter flying.
“The Finance Ministry and the Defence Ministry will have to work it out and increase the establishment without any bureaucratic delay,” he said.
Today, the Defence Ministry approving the induction, said that such a progressive step was taken considering aspirations of Indian women. It further said that the performance of women has been praiseworthy and on a par with their male counterparts since their induction into the transport and helicopter streams of the IAF.
Inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat roles as well, the statement added.
The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016. Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.