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IAF Vice Chief issues clarification on women fighter pilots

Last Updated: Friday, November 20, 2009 - 00:19

New Delhi: After kicking up a controversy
with his remarks over induction of women fighter pilots into
the IAF, Vice Chief Air Marshal PK Barbora on Thursday said these
comments were his "personal opinion" and issued a
clarification short of an apology.

"My remarks concerning induction of women fighter pilots
into the IAF have come in for a lot of discussion in the
media... I would like to clarify that my remarks concerning
`off-spring` and `imposing some conditions` were my own
personal opinion and not that of the IAF or the Defence
Ministry," the Vice Chief said.
Barbora fuelled a controversy on Tuesday with his remarks
on the economic viability of hiring women as fighter pilots
citing situations where they will be off duties for some
time once they had children.

In his clarification, he said the "remarks were made in
response to questions by the media during the curtain raiser
to the President of India’s maiden flight in a Su-30 aircraft
later this month.

If I had hurt any groups’ sentiments, I would like to
state that it was not with any malicious intentions of hurting
anyone’s feelings or casting any aspersions on their ability."

Barbora said "induction of women into actual combat is
a tri-services issue and has demanded a careful orchestrated
approach starting with grant of permanent commission to
Talking about various aspects involved in the hiring of
women as fight pilots, the Vice Chief said, "I am quite
confident, as I had also mentioned during the media
interaction, that in not a distant future, we hope to see
women pilots flying fighters in some form of combat roles. I
say this as an ‘air warrior’ and one who abides by our

Considering many variables such as our country’s
societal environmental and cultural ethos of respect and
status of women, a step by step approach would be the
preferred option in respect of employability of women in the
defence forces, he added.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, November 20, 2009 - 00:19

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