The Indian Air Force on Saturday inducted its first batch of women pilots into its fighter squadron.
Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawna Kanth are the pilots included in the first batch. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was present to witness the passing-out parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet in Hyderabad.
The graduation parade, which was held as part of successful completion of the pre-commissioning training by the flight cadets of various branches of Indian Air Force was a landmark event in the history of IAF, as the first three women pilots were commissioned in the fighter stream of the flying branch.
However, the induction is on an “experimental basis.” The IAF will study the results of this “experimental basis” induction for five years.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reviews the passing out parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet pic.twitter.com/I7Zqqqk12V
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“Feel confident and good, definitely. All our instructors were very supportive,” Avani Chaturvedi told the media.
“I am really very proud of Mohana and wish her all the luck,” said Mohana Singh’s mother.
The three women will go to Bidar in Karnataka for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.
The IAF had advised the women in March to refrain from motherhood for the next four years.
Six female cadets were competing to become fighter pilots after the government, in a landmark move, approved an IAF plan in October to induct them as fighter pilots. However, only three female trainees were selected for the fighter stream.
“This is just the beginning. Slowly, women in large numbers will be part of the armed forces,” Parrikar had told reporters earlier this week.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and ENS)