The participation of women Indian Air Force personnel in the Republic Day parade and the flypast will inspire the next generation of women to join the force, purely as a career option, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said.
In this year’s Republic Day parade. the Indian Air Force is strongly showcasing its capabilities in multiple areas, including 16 women pilots taking part in the fly-past over Kartavya Path. For the first time, an all-women Tri-Service contingent will march down the Kartavya Path. Women pilots will also enthral the audience during the Indian Air Force’s fly-past, representing Nari Shakti (women power).
Viksit Bharat’s rich cultural diversity, the ‘Aatmanirbhar’ military prowess and the growing Nari Shakti are the dominating themes of the 90-minute parade that will be graced by French President Emmanuel Macron as Chief Guest.
The contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will also consist of only women personnel.
Message from Air Chief Marshal
“Our capabilities are growing, our stature remains very high and when you talk about women, you are aware that Indian Air Force is a completely gender-agnostic service. We have women officers serving in every branch. We have them undergoing every possible course and tenanting every possible appointment that can be given to them,” the Air Chief Marshal told an Indian media agency in an interview.
“And this year’s showcasing of women both in the parade as well as taking part in the fly past, I’m sure will serve as an inspiration for more women to join the Indian Air Force.” The first batch of women Agniveers are also taking part in the parade this time. “This, I’m sure, will serve as an inspiration for the next generation of women to choose IAF as a career,” he added.
“I think the correct message will be depicted through the tableau, which has the theme for this year which says Indian Air Force Saksham Sashakt and Aatmanirbhar,” the air chief marshal said. “I think this encapsulates the entire theme that you know the way we are progressing in the Indian Air Force.”
LCA Tejas Program
This year, the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is also making its formation debut in the Republic Day parade. Asked how the LCA programme is entirely shaping up and by when one can expect the LCA MK1A to get inducted into the force, he said, “The first two squadrons of LCA are already operational. The contract for 83 LCA which was signed three years ago, the first of the aircraft will be delivered next month and the new squadron will be equipped with this aircraft probably in the month of March or April. I think the programme is going very well.” “Our confidence in the platform has grown and we are now moving the case for 97 additional LCA.”
Further, asked how he looks at the Indian Air Force shaping up vis-a-vis the adversaries on two fronts after the induction of two squadrons of the Rafale combat jets, more SU-30 MKI are coming with advanced capabilities, LCA have been inducted, he said the Force has laid out a very clear capability development plan for the next two to three decades.
“The Indian Air Force has laid out a very clear capability development plan for the next two to three decades. This involves not only the number plating of all types of aircraft like the MIG21 and Jaguars but also induction of newer platforms,” he explained.
“Let me assure you that the Capability Development Plan and the way it is panning out right now is adequate to meet any challenges faced by the country.”
Speaking about other domains of warfare that are now emerging, he said the Force’s capability development plan takes into account acquisition and upgradation of existing electronic warfare and space related equipment.
“We are very clear that any future confrontation or conflict will not only be in the kinetic domain but also in the non-kinetic domains which will include space, cyber, electronic warfare and so on. Towards this once again our capability development plan takes into account acquisition and upgradation of existing electronic warfare and space related equipment,” he asserted. “And for this once again I think our roadmap once fulfilled will ensure that we have adequate capability in all the other domains also,” the air chief marshal said.