Air Force chief Arup Raha does a U-turn: Will induct women fighter pilots

In March last year, Raha had said that women are physically not suited to fly fighter planes. On Thursday, however, Raha said he had “no doubt” that women could become fighter pilots.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Updated: October 9, 2015 8:08 am
Indian Air Force, women in Indian Air force, women piolts, women pilots in indian airforce, women fighter pilots, iaf arup raha, arup raha IAF, IAF women fighter pilots, Indian air force news A Sukhoi fighter jet (File photo)

Changing his earlier stand, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said on Thursday that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to induct women as fighter aircraft pilots.

Addressing the Air Force Day function at the Hindon Air Base, the IAF chief said: “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.” He said the IAF has sent the proposal to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and expects it to be cleared within a year.

Raha, however, said today that women should be cleared to operate behind enemy lines.

SEE: Photos of aerial feats by the Indian Air Force

In March last year, Raha had said that women are physically not suited to fly fighter planes. “As far as flying fighter planes is concerned, it is a very challenging job. Women are by nature not physically suited for flying fighter planes for long hours, especially when they are pregnant or have other health problems,” he had said.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

On Thursday, however, Raha said he had “no doubt” that women could become fighter pilots.

If the MoD clears the proposal, it may take about three years of training for women to actually fly fighter jets. While the IAF has about 100 women pilots, the role of women officers in all the three services is limited to non-combat streams.

Responding to a question in Parliament earlier this year, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said: “Women personnel in the armed forces are not being deployed for combat operations and on naval warships. Induction of women in combat duties has not been recommended by the studies carried out by the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQIDS) in 2006 and High Level Tri-Services Committee in 2011.”

“Think of what can happen if a woman is taken as a prisoner in combat operation,” Parrikar had said in Pune in May.

Parrikar’s predecessor, A K Antony, had maintained the same line. “There is no proposal at present to induct women into combat duties in the defence forces including as fighter pilots in IAF,” he had said in 2013.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. P
    Pranab Dihingia
    Oct 9, 2015 at 6:46 am
    then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
    Reply
    1. P
      Pranab Dihingia
      Oct 9, 2015 at 6:46 am
      then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
      Reply
      1. P
        Pranab Dihingia
        Oct 9, 2015 at 6:47 am
        then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
        Reply
        1. P
          Pranab Dihingia
          Oct 9, 2015 at 6:47 am
          then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
          Reply
          1. P
            Pranab Dihingia
            Oct 9, 2015 at 6:47 am
            then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
            Reply
            1. P
              Pranab Dihingia
              Oct 9, 2015 at 6:48 am
              then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
              Reply
              1. P
                Pranab Dihingia
                Oct 9, 2015 at 6:48 am
                then why only as fighter pilots, deploy women army platoons to fight and kill insurgents along border day and night. To fly a jet is one thing but to lead in real combat situations is not just a dream. tell me how many women fighter pilots will be available 24 hrs a day in case of a full scale war? If they have some womanly health issues or pregnancy (in case of married women) at that time? Its not about reservation and getting jobs in military, its about serving our country and national security.
                Reply
                1. H
                  HILARY
                  Oct 8, 2015 at 10:54 am
                  Not a big thing. Women in neighbouring stan have been flying fighter jets for nearly 20 years now.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Manu
                    Oct 9, 2015 at 6:59 am
                    What is your opinion? Plzzz ap log girls ke lie bhi open rally bharti organise Kariae. taki 12th ki studies ke bad girls bhi IAF join kar sake......plzzz aisa kariye...people thinking that girls are weak..but not they are strong..plzz aisa kuch karo girls ko bhi open bharti me lele..plzzz
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      priya
                      Oct 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm
                      they are not even allowed to go to schools
                      Reply
                      1. C
                        Cdr Prasanna
                        Oct 9, 2015 at 6:55 am
                        Air force has gone one more step ahead...we are so happy and proud of our nation.....Navy after the high court judgement of 4th Sep 2015 for granting permanent commission for the peioners,still not intimated....they are ready and waiting for the call....
                        Reply
                        1. P
                          pb
                          Oct 8, 2015 at 1:14 pm
                          Hehe joke of the day
                          Reply
                          1. I
                            Indian
                            Oct 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm
                            Indian women no doubt about their bravery , but in battle we have to enter enemy territory, and need extra bravery and need to make bold decision, that may some time not possible for women.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              SC Joshi
                              Oct 9, 2015 at 8:53 am
                              U turn for the good things being suggested is welcome. Mr. Raha has done wise thing by suggesting as women fighter pilots
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                S.Suchindranath
                                Oct 8, 2015 at 11:07 pm
                                More "Social Engineering". This is why India is 135 out of 172 countries in Human and Social Development and 143 out of 172 countries in internal peace and stability. India has a an Armed Forces that is all Gilbert and Sullivan.
                                Reply
                                1. D
                                  Devasahayam
                                  Oct 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm
                                  Raha should have first announced when he will restore IAF to full-sanctioned-strength of 45 squadrons plus a reserve before making THIS announcement -- as it stands, IAF has been forced to order Mk-1 Tejas to even make a way-inadequate reduced-strength of 35 squadrons. Not enough aircraft available for new pilots TO fly!
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    Vir Narain
                                    Oct 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm
                                    The induction of women in the Armed Forces, particularly in combat roles, is an issue that has to be examined from various points of view: operational, physiological, sociological andanisational. But before examining these various aspects, it is very important to agree on one fundamental consideration which over-rides the rest : that of operational efficiency. National security is of such primary importance that any proposed policy or practice which is not aimed at enhancing it, or which (howsoever marginally) might diminish it, should be ruled out - and this includes issues of human rights also. For those basically responsible for ensuring national security (this, clearly, does not include politicians and bureaucrats) this is an axiom on which no compromise can be justified. Only those who have no experience of actual combat conditions can contemplate exposing women to those conditions. Therefore, any proposed change in policy or practice must first be justified by demonstrating that it would lead to an improvement in operational efficiency - or at least that it would not result in any decrease. It is no reflection on women that the requirements of child-bearing, which it would be unrealistic to ignore, are incomparable with the requirements of round-the-clock, daily availability for combat.
                                    Reply
                                    1. Load More Comments