Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh scripted history on Saturday at the flying grounds in Dundigal in presence of a massive gathering, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The first women to be commissioned into fighter stream in IAF, the trio were the centre of attraction at the Combined Graduation Parade. They will now go to Bidar in Karnataka for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.
The three women pilots, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh consider them “fortunate” and were excited to take on their duties. Three of them have successfully completed pre-commissioning training by the Flight Cadets of various branches of IAF
Batting for gender parity in the armed forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar termed it a “golden letter day.”
Parrikar who was chief guest at the combined graduation ceremony at Air Force Academy, Dundigal in Telangana said that government is making efforts to achieve total gender parity in the armed forces.
“There are technical and administrative difficulties which we are likely to face in certain areas, so, step by step we will see that this parity is achieved. Number will depend on how many we can accommodate depending on our infrastructure,” said the Defence Minister.
Avani Chaturvedi who hails from Satna in Madhya Pradesh comes from a family of army officers. She was inspired by her brother who is also in the army and always wanted to fly and joined the flying club of her college.
Second pilot Bhawana Kanth hails from Darbhanga in Bihar always dreamt of flying planes.
Mohana Singh comes from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her grandfather was a flight gunner in Aviation Research Centre and father is a warrant officer in the IAF.
Parrikar, who reviewed the passing out parade, conferred ‘President’s Commission’ on behalf the President to 130 Flight Cadets, including 22 women trainees, who were commissioned as Flying Officers.
A total of six female cadets were competing to become fighter pilots after the government approved a landmark plan to induct women as fighter pilots. However, only three female trainees were selected for the fighter stream.