‘Indian Air Force has 110 female pilots’

Rebutting its depiction in Netflix movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday said it has 1,625 female officers (excluding medical and dental branches), out of which nine are fighter jet pilots, 50 helicopter pilots, and 51 transport pilots. The IAF added that it has always encouraged and ensured a work culture which is gender-neutral.

In its plea before the High Court, the IAF highlighted many female officers who became part of important historical events by actively participating in combat and supporting roles.

In August 1966, Flight Lieutenant Kanta Handa, an IAF medical officer, became the first female IAF officer to receive a commendation for her service during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war.

Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena and Flight Lieutenant Sreevidya Rajan were among the first women to fly in a combat zone during Kargil War. In 2012,

In 2015, the IAF opened new combat air force roles for women as fighter pilots, adding to their role as helicopter pilots in the IAF.

“This establishes that the IAF is committed to provide a healthy work atmosphere to all its female members and has always been encouraging its officials and promoting them to serve the nation purely based on their merit, despite of their gender,” the IAF said.

‘Kept in the dark’

The IAF said that the film-makers had approached it on the pretext that the film was based on the actual life of an IAF officer. However, the film-makers kept the IAF “in the dark about the real intent of the movie”, which was to show the IAF “in negative light based on misleading, manipulative facts”.

The IAF also stated that the film-makers “avoided entering into a formal agreement i.e. a Memorandum of Understanding with it. This, the IAF said was not only a pre-requisite under the 2013 guidelines but the ‘in-principle’ approval accorded to the film-makers was at all times subject to the execution of the said MoU.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 11:13:18 AM |

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