Indian Air Force inducts first batch of women fighter pilots

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NEW DELHI, June 18 – The Indian Air Force Saturday inducted first batch of women pilots into its fighter squadron.

First batch of indian women pilots
Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi (from left to right)

The three women pilots – Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh, Mohana Singh of Rajasthan and Bhawana Kanth of Bihar – were formally commissioned Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar during a combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal in southern city of Hyderabad.

Induction of women pilots has been talked about for a long time. However, with their introduction, Indian women would now be formally taken into the frontline of battlefield.

In Indian military until now, women were working in the support sections of the army and navy like army education core and army ordinance core.

Analysts said that in the next few years a good number of women officers would be joining airforce as fighters.

“We are feeling quite fortunate for being first ones. Anybody could have got that opportunity, but we got it and we are happy about it making people proud,” Mohana Singh said after the function.

Congratulatory messages are pouring in from politicians over the induction of first women fighter pilots.

“Congratulations to Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh on successful completion of training. Wishing bright career ahead in IAF,” Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh state Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote on twitter.

“With her great achievement, daughter of Madhya Pradesh Avani Chaturvedi has given new wings to the dreams of millions of girls. Entire state feels proud.”

The three women have cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying.

Officials said the trio would go to Bidar in Karnataka for their advanced training for a year, where they will train on the Hawks and get to learn intensive combat manoeuvres and armament firing, besides handling of MiG 21s, Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s.

In March this year an advisory was issued to Indian women fighter trainees to put off motherhood by four years.