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IAF studying role of women as fighter pilots

NAGPUR (PTI): The entry of women as fighter pilots in Indian Air Force is under discussion at a "very high" level, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik has said.

"The matter was being deliberated at a 'very high' level in the force and a detailed study is being conducted in this regard," Naik, who was here to attend the two-day Commanders' conference of the Maintenance Command of the IAF, told reporters on Tuesday.

It is not a question of the entry of women fighter pilots in the air force, but in fact it is about women in combat roles in all the three services, he said, adding that the viability of such a role is being examined in detail.

There were several other issues comprising cultural, ethical and physical fitness - related to women in combat role in the armed forces, Naik said.

"A careful and thought-out decision will be made, which will not be reversed. We do not want to go back on the decision (once we make it)," he clarified.

The study will also take into account the experience of air forces of other countries in the world, especially since some countries have reversed their decision to recruit women as fighter pilots, he said.

Naik, however, said he saw no reason why women could not become fighter pilots.

"They are already flying other aircrafts like the IL-76 transport aircraft. There will be women fighter pilots in the IAF too. After all, they have broken every other male bastion," he said.

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