On Thursday, at a function celebrating the Indian Air Force's (IAF) 83rd anniversary, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha made a crucial announcement: the IAF is now planning to induct women as fighter pilots.
Speaking at the event that was held at the Hindon Air Force Base, Ghaziabad, Raha said, "We have women pilots flying transport aircrafts and helicopters. We are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspiration of young women of India."
Indian Airforce to induct women pilots in fighter stream soon, says IAF Chief Arup Raha.— ANI (@ANI_news) October 8, 2015
We have women pilots flying transport aircraft and helicopter, says Arup Raha.— ANI (@ANI_news) October 8, 2015
We are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspiration of young women of India, says IAF Chief Arup Raha.— ANI (@ANI_news) October 8, 2015
But earlier, in March 2014, ACM Raha had still some issues with employing women in the IAF.
"As far as flying fighter planes is concerned, it's a very challenging job. Women are by nature not physically suited for flying fighters for long hours, especially when they are pregnant or have other health problems,'' ACM Raha said, according to a report in The Times of India.
Even the Former Defense Minister AK Antony had said, "As a society, we are not ready for our women in combat roles. What if they are taken as PoWs (prisoner of war)?"
The Delhi High Court in 2010 had allowed women a full term service, adding that they deserved better from the government.
Meanwhile, celebrations are underway at the Hindon Air Force Base.
Former Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who was present at the occasion, was made an honourary Group Captain in the IAF.
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Chief of Naval Staff RK Dhowan were also present at the event.
An air display was also carried out, where the flag-bearing sky divers of the famous AKASH GANGA Team jumped out of an AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies.
I salute our air force personnel on Air Force Day. They have always served India with great courage & determination. pic.twitter.com/S0Wr3nySYa— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 8, 2015
Contribution of our Air Force is monumental. They are always at the forefront, be it in protecting skies or in times of disasters.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 8, 2015
(With inputs from ANI)