New Delhi -- In a landmark move, the government today approved induction of women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force, the first time that women would be in combat roles in the country's armed forces.
The first women fighter pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing training at the Air Force Academy, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
"This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations," the ministry said.
It added that the performance of women officers, who had been inducted into transport and helicopter streams of the IAF, has been "praiseworthy" and was at par with that of male colleaugues.
The statement had added that the graduates will then undergo advanced training for a year. Following the completion of the training, they would finally be allowed to enter the fighter cockpit by June 2017, the statement said.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said on the 83rd Air Force Day: "We have women pilots flying transport aircraft and helicopters, we are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspirations of young women of India."
According to a report on NDTV, though there are approximately 1,500 women in the Indian Air Force, including 94 pilots and 14 navigators, they were never considered for combat roles in the past. The reason cited for keeping women away from combat roles was the apprehension that they would face torture and sexual abuse if they were shot down.
However, the insititution and the governmement seem to to have finally overcome their hesitation.
With inputs frrom PTI