" But apparently, in keeping with global trends and demands by women for parity even in combat roles, and also to make up for the shortage of officers, IAF, and then possibly the other two services, would gradually unleash them in the defence of the country."
By Gulshan Luthra

New Delhi, Aug 19 - Induction of women officers in combat roles in the Indian Air Force (IAF) now seems possible.

The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, indicated this in an interview with India Strategic magazine (www.indiastrategic.in ) when he said that their chances in the near future are very bright.

He pointed out that IAF had had already opened all branches for induction of women as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers, except in the fighter stream of the flying branch.

The probability of women pilots flying in combat roles in the near future is very bright, he said.

Although it may take some time for the decision to take effect due to procedural approvals, including from the defence ministry, the air chief's statement is a clear indication that a positive decision has possibly been reached and could soon be announced.

In fact, so far, women officers in all the three services are not being deployed on active duty close to the border wherein they are likely to be exposed to direct line of fire by an enemy.

But apparently, in keeping with global trends and demands by women for parity even in combat roles, and also to make up for the shortage of officers, IAF, and then possibly the other two services, would gradually unleash them in the defence of the country.

(Gulshan Luthra writes on strategic affairs. He can be contacted at [email protected])


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