Two women officers, Sub Lieutenants Kumudini Tyagi and Riti Singh from the Indian Navy are set to create history. They are going to be the first women officers to be deployed on Navy warships who will operate as specialists onboard Navy helicopters. Both Tyagi and Singh, passed out the Indian Navy’s Observer Course, at Southern Naval Command, Kochi on Monday.
Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh have been selected to join as 'Observers' (Airborne tacticians) in the helicopter stream. They were awarded 'Wings' on graduating as 'Observers' at a ceremony held today at INS Garuda, Kochi: Indian Navy pic.twitter.com/YVYAPKEnhw
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2020
Earlier women officers couldn’t get on warships for lengthy durations with the Indian Navy due to various reasons including, lack of privacy in crew quarters and the availability of proper bathroom facilities. Women officers were earlier only deployed onboard Navy fleet tankers as logistics and medical officers.
“The two are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard, who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony held today at INS Garuda,” a Defence statement said.
This is the first time, a women’s crew is being posted in “frontline warships” as the officers have been selected to join as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream. Their roles will be to operate the helicopters, including sonar consoles and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) payloads, as per reports.
Who are the two Sub Lieutenants?
Sub Lt. Riti Singh hails from Hyderabad and is the third generation from her family to serve in the armed forces following the footstep of her grandfather, who was an Army officer, and her father who is a Naval officer. Singh said, “It was my dream to adorn the white uniform,” reported The Hindu.
Ghaziabad-born Sub Lt. Tyagi said, “I was motivated to join the naval aviation wing on hearing about the death of woman officer Lt. Kiran Shekhawat in 2015 in an accident involving a Naval aircraft. Navy personnel work on the land, air and water and that was a challenge I wanted to take up.”
These two women officers are expected to fly the navy’s new MH-60 R helicopters eventually.
Two other women officers, Sub Lt. Afnan Sheikh and Sub Lt. Kreeshma R., also passed out on Monday. This is indeed a moment which will redefine the gender roles in the Indian Navy.
Feature Image Credit: PTI