After Air Force, Navy opens doors to women pilots
Days after the Indian Air Force announced that it will induct women as fighter pilots, the Navy has decided to allow women pilots in various streams. However, for now they will be shore-based till necessary infrastructural needs are addressed. The Army and Navy are also looking into the issue of appointing women in combat roles.
“All flying areas in the Navy will be opened for women except where it requires staying overnight on ships like carriers and so on,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said while interacting with the media after addressing the Naval Commanders Conference which began on Monday. “We want to give women equal status as long as there are no logistical, infrastructure and training issues.”
In a major decision at altering the status quo in the male dominated military, the Defence Ministry had last week announced that by June 2017 the first batch of women fighter pilots would be serving the Air Force.
On the issue of Permanent Commission (PC) to women in the Navy, Mr. Parrikar observed that there was “no gender bias” in the Navy. Last month, in a landmark judgment, the Delhi High Court granted PC for women and pulled up the Navy and the Defence Ministry for “sexist bias” to block women’s progress.
Clarifying that the 1991 Order on PC was gender neutral, Mr. Parrikar said that it only stated that there can be no PC for Short Service Commission (SSC) officers. He added that in 2008, PC was granted for women officers in three streams — education, law and construction.
New maritime strategy
On the occasion of the Naval Commanders Conference, the Navy unveiled a new maritime strategy, changing it in tune with “perspectives and challenges”. We will be aggressive in defending our interests, said Mr. Parrikar in response to a question. The current Maritime Doctrine was promulgated in 2009 but the dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region have vastly changed since.