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Historic Moment: For the First Time, Indian Air Force inducts Three Women Fighter Pilots into its fighter Squadron

Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi were commissioned in the fighter stream of the air force on Saturday, June 18, at a parade in Hyderabad

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FILE - A woman poses for a photograph next to an Indian Air Force (IAF) light utility helicopter on display at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru, February 18, 2015. Image source: Reuters
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  • Women pilots make up about 100 of the air force’s 1,500 pilots
  • Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi were commissioned in the fighter stream of the air force 
  • These Three women fighter pilots will be trained for a year before they get to fly supersonic warplanes by next year in 2017

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted three female fighter pilots marking the first time one of the world’s largest militaries has opened the door to women in combat roles.

Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi were commissioned in the fighter stream of the air force on Saturday at a parade in Hyderabad.

It’s a huge step forward for the 1.2 million strong Indian armed forces that has trailed countries like the United States, Britain, Israel and neighboring Pakistan in allowing women into the cockpit of fighter jets.

The Indian air force could blaze the trail for the army and navy. In February 2016, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee announced in parliament that women will be allowed in all fighter streams of the armed forces.

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Asked about the challenges she is likely to encounter as a woman fighter pilot, Mohana Singh shrugged, “Nothing different from my male counterparts, as much as they face.”

Women pilots make up about 100 of the air force’s 1,500 pilots, but have so far served only in helicopter and transport units.

Three women pilots-Bhawana Kath, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh the newest fighter pilots of Indian Air Force who were inducted into the force on Saturday in Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: K.V.S. Giri
Three women pilots-Bhawana Kath, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh the newest fighter pilots of Indian Air Force who were inducted into the force on Saturday in Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: K.V.S. Giri

The three women fighter pilots will be trained for a year on Hawk advanced trainer jets before they get to fly supersonic warplanes by next year.

The Indian air force has called their induction a “progressive step in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations.”

But it also says the induction has been made on an “experimental basis,” which it will study for five years. Observers take that as an indication that although a step forward has been taken, gender parity will only creep in slowly in the armed forces.

For the Indian forces, women’s vulnerability if captured and the challenge of frontline deployments have been major sticking points.

Former air vice marshal Manmohan Bahadur with the Center for Air Power Studies in New Delhi told VOA the armed forced are taking a cautious approach. “So the point is: Is putting women in combat in harm’s way that has to be accepted by society. For India it has happened now, in other countries it has happened earlier,” he says.

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Part of the nudge to change attitudes towards women came from courts, which have ruled in favor of better working conditions for female officers and called on the armed forces not to block their progress. Until 2010, they were only offered temporary commissions of up to five to 10 years.  Women constitute a mere 2.5 percent of armed personnel, most of them administrators, intelligence officers, doctors and nurses.

Bahadur says the change in attitude to women in combat will happen slowly. “It is a natural tendency to shield the women. That may happen in the initial stages, but after some time, it will become a day in and day out affair and then it does not matter. So it is a gradual process that should be allowed to take place.”

The induction of the three women received huge coverage in the Indian media with newspaper headlines like “Women Fighter Pilots Break Cloud Ceiling,” and “No Sky Too High.”

Meanwhile, the female fighter pilots are excited about their pioneering role. “The only thing I would like to say is dream big and work for it. If you really wish to do something, all the ways will automatically open for you,” says newly commissioned fighter pilot, Avani Chaturvedi. (VOA)

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Yes, these women are making their way breaking all the stereotypes. Women pilots in IAF is a great achievement by them.

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Diabetic Women at Greater Risk of Developing Cancer Than Men, According to a New Study

Overall, it was calculated that women with diabetes were six per cent more likely to develop any form of cancer than men with diabetes

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The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher.
The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher. Pixabay

Women suffering from diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing cancer than men, a new study has found.

The findings suggested that among the study participants, women with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) were at higher risks for developing kidney cancer (11 per cent), oral cancer (13 per cent), stomach cancer (14 per cent) and leukaemia (15 per cent) compared to men with the similar condition.

Diabetes affects more than 415 million people worldwide, with five million deaths every year.

According to the researchers, it is believed that heightened blood glucose may have cancer-causing effects by leading to DNA damage.

“The link between diabetes and the risk of developing cancer is now firmly established,” said lead author Toshiaki Ohkuma from The George Institute for Global Health in Australia.

They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women.
They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women. Pixabay

“The number of people with diabetes has doubled globally in the last 30 years but we still have much to learn about the condition,” Ohkuma added.

For the study, published in the journal Diabetologia, the researchers examined data on all-site cancer events (incident or fatal only) from 121 cohorts that included 19,239,302 individuals.

The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher.

Also Read: Eating Dinner Early May Lower Risk of Breast, Prostate Cancer

They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women.

Overall, it was calculated that women with diabetes were six per cent more likely to develop any form of cancer than men with diabetes.

“It’s vital that we undertake more research into discovering what is driving this, and for both people with diabetes and the medical community to be aware of the heightened cancer risk for women and men with diabetes,” Ohkuma noted. (IANS)