Training problems in having women fighter pilots: Parrikar

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New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said there “can be operational and training problems” in inducting women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF) even though he said he agreed to the move “in principle”.

The comment comes after the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, announced on Thursday that women will soon be inducted as fighter pilots.

“In principle we support this. Yes, there can be operational and training problems, but except for that, I see no reason why women should not participate,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of the Territorial Army Day Parade.

He said work is on to formulate a policy in this regard.

“Why can’t women be a part of it? The procedure to come out with a policy for this is going on. Many difficulties arrive and keeping that in mind we will announce a policy soon,” he said.

The minister stressed that the government is against any gender discrimination.

However, he added: “If we take decisions without thinking then there can be serious implications… In principle, we are for inclusion of both the sexes. No gender discrimination should be there. Except when there are operational and training problems,” he said.

According to sources, Parrikar will meet the three service chiefs – Air Chief Marshal Raha, army chief General Dalbir Singh and navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan – next week to discuss the issue.