June 18 is D-day: First batch of female fighter pilots get ready for induction

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Three female cadets are set to be inducted into the Indian Air Force. After the Defence Ministry’s ground-breaking decision of inducting women in the combat stream last year, the three cadets will join the IAF on June 18th.

“As of now, three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream. They are under the second phase of their training. The passing out parade is scheduled on June 18,” Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said on International Women’s Day in March, as reported by India Today. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is also expected to attend the ceremony.

Also read: Special Feature: Women in Indian Armed Forces

The chosen three pilots who are going to be inducted are Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh, and Avani Chaturvedi. After their commissioning , the trio will be heading to Bidar in Karnataka where they will undergo their final training for a year. The three pilots will be taught to fly Hawk jet-powered trainer aircraft and will finally be entering the fighter cockpit in June 2017.

These women have toiled really hard to complete the initial training required for them to reach the next level of actually learning to fly the fighter planes. Initially when the position was opened for women, six women entered the programme but only three could qualify for the next level.

Also read: Pregnant women allowed in the Army Medical Corps

It was in October 2015 that Parrikar issued a statement approving the induction of women as fighter pilots in the IAF, a  move that is largely seen as a positive step towards gender equality in the armed forces.  More women in the combat roles will bring in a definite change in the operating method of the armed forces. No doubt, these women will need to prove themselves in combat roles. But at least now they have the opportunity!

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Feature Image credit: NDTV