Bangalore: Indian women are taking combat to a whole new level and have crossed another milestone. The Indian Air Force has pioneered in introducing women in the role of fighter pilots, as reported by Arun Dev for TOI . Previously women pilots only operated single engine helicopters like Cheetah and Chetakh, which are used in non combat missions only. But now two women have been chosen to set foot in the field of air combat training.
Yes, the magnitude of the decision is immense, considering the fact that for the first time women are given such a high risk profile. The unlikely thought that even women can be the bombardiers, a role which men have been performing for all these years is now on the verge of change. The Indian Air force has added the two remarkable women to the state of art undertaking, unlike the Indian army who has no plans to engage women in combat in the near future.
Alka is excited about flying the new manoeuvers for combat. She said I'm being trained in hovering above to enable troops slither down the ropes. This manoeuver was similar to the ones carried out during the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai, as reported by TOI. Wing Commander N D Mahajan, chief flying instructor of the unit informed that the two women had the same curriculum and training, which is performed by the male fighter pilots and the ladies performed them very well.
For the first time women will undergo the vigorous combat training, which includes bombing, combat search and rescue, rocket attacks and special heli-borne operations. Deepak Kumar Vats, commanding officer of Alka's 112 helicopter unit, informed about the two roles in the operation, which are training pilots who are moving from single engine helicopters to twin-engine ones and operational role. The operations are at present, a lot to do with civilian aid, like flood-relief operations. But in case of emergencies, the unit will be moved to northwest, in which Alka may be a part of the action.
Flying is a high risk occupation, which involves thrill and excitement, and has attracted many young women around the world, but it was not until 1994 that the first Indian women accomplished this desire. India has given almost equal opportunities for women in every field. However the reasons to consider the risk involved for women in combat operations are sever, yet deploying these two women for the purpose to safeguard the country, is just a start to change many scenarios involving the set concerns. We are proud to have two brave and brilliant women chosen by the Air Force for such valiant mission.