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10:40 AM, March 10, 2016
2218
Three IAF Women Pilots To Take Up Combat Roles In June

India’s first batch of women fighter pilots will be commissioned on June 18, the force’s chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said Tuesday.

“The floodgates have opened for women to prove their mettle in all streams,” Air Chief Marshal Raha said at an event on International Women’s Day.

Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth, who are currently training at an air force base in the southern Indian state of Telangana, are the three women who will qualify to fly fighter planes this summer. The air force’s fighter jet fleets consist of the Russian Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs, the MiG-21 and 27s and the French Mirage-2000s.

Air Chief Marshal Raha first announced in October, on the 83rd anniversary of the Indian Air Force that the armed force was opening the way for women to fly fighter jets in combat and an air force proposal to India’s federal defense ministry regarding the induction of women was under consideration.

Last month, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee said in a speech that the government had approved the proposal.

“In the future, my government will induct women in all the fighter streams of our Armed Forces,” Mr. Mukherjee said. 

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