Come June 18 and India will get its first women fighter pilots. This was announced by the Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Arup Raha on Tuesday while speaking on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
First women fighter pilots under training in Hyderabad, to be inducted in Indian Air Force by June this year. pic.twitter.com/Yxv1Pg6IS4— ANI (@ANI_news) March 8, 2016
With this announcement, women will break the decades-long prejudice that has prevented them from taking up combat roles. These three leading women-Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth, who are currently undergoing training are set to create history as India’s first women fighter pilots. Here’s what we know about this awesome trio.
For Bhawana Kanth, who hails from Bihar, it was a childhood dream come true. She rightly says that being a fighter pilot was something only boys were expected to aspire to be because of stereotypes. But she acknowledges how her parents never conformed to them and never made her feel different just because she was a girl.
“It has always been the right time for women to become fighter pilots. I am only grateful that it at least happened now,” she told NDTV.
For Mohana Singh, who comes from an Air Force family, the decision to get into IAF was both a tradition and dream. Both her father and grandfather served in the Indian Air Force. But what inspired her to move beyond the obvious and inspire her to become a fighter pilot was her instructor.
“After B.Tech like the army of youngsters who look for jobs in IT, I too joined Cognizant but was simultaneously preparing to join the services too,” Ms Singh told NDTV.
“It’s a childhood dream come true to be selected for the fighter stream… I am continuing the legacy of my grandfather (who was also in the IAF) and father (a warrant officer now posted at Vadodara),” Mohana told TOI on Tuesday.
Avani Chaturvedi from Rewa in Madhya Pradesh strongly believes in gender equality. When asked asked about the challenges they might face as women pilots she says it’s no different being a woman fighter pilot. The challenges are exactly the same for both sexes, she said.
“It’s a dream for everybody to fly. When you walk you only look at the sky, at the birds, and you want to fly,” Chaturvedi said in an interview with NDTV. “Flying at the speed of sound, and more than that, is something everyone dreams of,” she added.