NEW DELHI: The Government has shown the green flag to the induction of women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force. The decision has come a fortnight after the Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha at the Hindon Air base had announced that women will soon be able to fly fighter planes. The announced was made on 8 October at the Air force anniversary.

Women fighter pilots will see inside of the cockpit by June 2017 with current batch being trained at the Air Force Academy, the statement released by the Ministry of Defense said.

The move will make Indian women stand parallel to countries like Pakistan, UAE, Canada, France, UK, Norway, and Germany, who too have women as fighter pilots.

In the statement issued by the MoD, its spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said, “The Ministry of Defense has approved the induction of women into the fighter (combat) stream of the IAF. This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and in line with contemporary trends in armed forces in developed nations.”

The Ministry, the statement said, has observed commendable performance by women in the roles as pilots that they have been doing since, such as transport and navigation. “Introducing women into the fighter stream would provide them with equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat as well,” the statement read.

“After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016. Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter the fighter pilot cockpit by June 2017,” it further said.

After having expressed his apprehension over the competence of women in the role of fighter pilots, their physique being a hindrance, the Air Chief had announced on October 8 that, “We have women pilots flying transport aircraft and helicopters. We are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspiration of young women of India.”