India approves induction of women fighter pilots in Air Force

Flight Lieutenant Alka Shuka at Bangalore Airbase in 2012
Flight Lieutenant Alka Shuka at Bangalore Airbase in 2012

Government has approved induction of women into the Fighter branch of Indian Air Force. Defense Ministry spokesperson said the decision has been taken keeping in view the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in Armed Forces of developed nations.

The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. They will be commissioned into the fighter stream in June 2016 after successful completion of initial training. Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.

There are around 1,500 women in the Air Force, including 94 pilots and 14 navigators. The Air Force is presently inducting women in Transport and Helicopter streams. With today’s decision, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the Air Force.

Defense Ministry has also taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission. Once finalised, more and more branches would be opened up for induction of women.

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