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Indian Air Force Is Gender Agnostic, All Branches Have Women Officers: IAF Chief VR Chaudhari

All branches, streams and sub-streams of the Indian Air Force office cadre have women officers now, said Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari while hailing the IAF for being gender agnostic. 

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Indian Air Force women cadets
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All branches, streams and sub-streams of the Indian Air Force office cadre have women officers now, said Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari while hailing the IAF for being gender agnostic. 

"We have had the first woman CO (commanding officer) of our combat squadron. We have little over 1,600 women in the air force today," VR Chaudhari said at an event in New Delhi. 

It was in 2015 when the IAF decided to induct women into the fighter stream. The three services have over the years opened several of its opportunities for women and recently as Agniveers. The strength of women officers, as on March 01, 2023, in the IAF (excluding medical and dental branches) is 1,636, according to a press release by the Ministry of Defence.

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All branches and streams of IAF are open to women officers. "Gender neutral approach is facilitating the employment of women officers of Indian Air Force in all combat roles without any restrictions. They are flying fighter aircraft and operating from the length and breadth of the country in all branches of the IAF with pride," the press release said.

Highlighting the role played by women officers in the Air Force, the Ministry noted, “ IAF has also transcended traditional boundaries by inducting women who undertake all tasks equally with their male counterparts. In doing so, the IAF has become the lead Service in promoting Naari Shakti in its true spirit.”

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Several interventions from the Supreme Court and state high courts have opened doors of the National Defence Academy to women, and opportunities in flying combat jets, deployment on-board warships etc, which have historically been dominated by male candidates, are also witnessing an increase in participation from women. The entry of women into the NDA required new infrastructure, separate physical training standards, and other gender-neutral changes.

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