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IAF chief suggests women can`t be given combat role

Last Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 22:21

New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal PV Naik on Thursday
appeared to suggest that women could not be given combat role
in armed forces in the near future considering the specific
"sensitivities" in India and said the issue needs to be
discussed further.

To make a point, he said that even the US, where women
have been peforming combat role for long, was considering
reversal of decision to allow woman to join as fighter pilots.

"There are few things alarming.... I think, this issue
in our environment needs much more discussion," he told
reporters when asked the possibility of women being inducted
as fighter pilots in IAF.

He said he was confident that women as combat pilots
would do equally well as their male counterparts but the
experience of the US has shown "there were very few successful
women pilots" even a long time after they were inducted.

"The three Services chiefs had met where it was decided
that the issue required a lot more studies. Because once we
take a decision, we would not like to reverse it like the
United States," Naik added.

Talking about the concerns that the force has, he said,
"If one (woman pilot) ejects and lands on the other side, what
happens to her. This is one area we really want to address
because sensitivities of our people is different than those of
people in say United States."

He said the IAF was taking a lot of opinion from the
lady officers who are already flying over sensitive areas such
as Jammu and Kashmir.

The IAF Chief, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of
Staffs Committee, said it was a larger issue which would look
at the induction of women in infantry, armoured corps,
submarines and combat aircraft.


First Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 22:21
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