New Delhi: Women in combat roles is all set to become a reality with the Ministry of Defence on Saturday giving its nod to induction of women into the combat stream of the Indian Air Force.
The decision means women would soon be flying fighter jets of the Indian Air Force.
As per a Defence Ministry statement, the first women pilots in the fighter stream of IAF will be selected from the current batch at the Air Force Academy.
"This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations," the ministry said.
It said that the performance of women, inducted into transport and helicopter streams of the IAF, has been "praiseworthy" and at par with their male colleagues.
Earlier this week, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had directed the three Service Chiefs to come out with a detailed report encapsulating the ways in which role of women can be increased in armed forces besides the challenges and the infrastructural changes needed in this regard.
Parrikar, who has been batting for enhanced role of women even in combat positions, had also met the three Service Chiefs recently to discuss the issue.
Just days ago, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had announced that his force had moved a proposal for recruiting women as fighter pilots.
Shortly after, Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan had also said that the Navy is looking at the possibility of recruiting women as pilots for its surveillance aircraft. However, he had ruled out combat role for women in the force for the time being due to government rules.
Till recently, the three Services had been cold to the idea of having women in combat roles and cited a number of reasons ranging from deployment issues to lodging and physical parameters.