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In a step towards gender equality, two women officers will operate flying missions from warships for the first time, the Indian Navy said on Monday, September 21.
While women have been deployed as logistics and medical officers on-board Navy fleet tankers, this will be the first time they will be onboard destroyers and frigates. Till date, the entry of women officers wa restricted to fixed-wing aircaft that took off and landed ashore.
On Monday, at a ceremony at INS Garuda in Kochi, Kerala, the two officers - Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh - were awarded "wings" on graduating as observers. They are part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard (13 officers of Regular batch and 4 women officers of Short Service Commission batch).
"In yet another first in the history of Indian naval aviation, two women officers have been selected to join as 'Observers' (Airborne Tacticians) in the helicopter stream...They would in effect, be the first set of women airborne combatants who would be operating from warships," the Navy said in a statement.
Rear Admiral Antony George NM, VSM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) on Monday presented the awards and coveted wings to the graduating officers.
"Things are changing in the Indian Navy every day. The navy is giving everybody an opportunity every day. Yes, we're breaking barriers every day but there are a lot of opportunities coming up every day. Whatever role the Indian Navy gives us, we will gladly take them," Sub Lieutenant Singh told NDTV.
Meanwhile, Sub Lieutenant Tyagi said, "We've been treated equally... Whatever training our male counterparts received, we went through the same training... It is a huge responsibility, the task is challenge. We are looking forward to it."
The officers would serve on-board Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
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