New Delhi: In the coming years, the armed forces will see larger participation of women, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said.
"This is just the beginning. Slowly, women in large numbers will be part of the armed forces," Parrikar told reporters here when asked whether more women would be encouraged to join the armed forces.
He was speaking at an event where he felicitated the first ever all-girls National Cadet Corps (NCC) team which had climbed the Mount Everest.
Flying Cadet Avani Chaturvedi, along with Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, is on the threshold of entering history books in the country this Saturday by being the first three women cadets to be inducted for flying fighter aircraft.
Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year on Hawk aircraft in Bidar in Karnataka and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.
They will go to Bidar this month for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.
Six women cadets were competing to become fighter pilots after the government, in a landmark move, approved an IAF plan in October to induct them as fighter pilots.
However, only three trainees were selected for the fighter stream.
The NCC Girls Mount Everest Expedition Team had scaled the world's highest peak on May 21 and 22.
Parrikar said the NCC has been asked to encourage the girl cadets to take up such activities.
"This is just the beginning. Many more girls will undertake such expeditions," he said.
They scaled the peak after dividing themselves into two teams, where the first team led by the Expedition Team Leader Col Gaurav Karki, reached the summit on May 21 and the second team led by Lt Col Vishal Alhawat reached the top on May 22.
This is the first ever successful expedition by the NCC Girls Team. All ten girl cadets of the expedition team are between the age group of 17 and 21 years.