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IAF vice chief issues clarification on women remarks

NEW DELHI (PTI): After igniting a controversy with his remarks on imposing no-pregnancy conditions for women fighter pilots, IAF vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora has clarified it was his "personal opinion" but stopped short of an apology.

Barbora came out with the clarification on a day when he appeared to stoke another controversy slamming the political class saying politics over Defence purchases impinged "very badly" on the country's military requirements.

Significantly, Barbora himself acknowledged at a CII seminar he was in a "bit of controversy" over his remarks on women pilots and political leaders and said he "didn't mean to drop any bricks. Please pardon me if I have to say some things which I feel have to be uttered."

In his clarification, he said, "If I had hurt any group’s sentiments, I would like to state that it was not with any malicious intentions of hurting anyone’s feelings or casting any aspersions on their (woman pilots) ability," Barbora said.

The Vice Chief further clarified that his remarks concerning 'off-spring' and 'imposing some conditions' were his own personal opinion and not that of the IAF or the Defence Ministry.

Making some forthright comments about how domestic politics hurt the Defence sector, Barbora said, "the internal politics over the years is such that whatever defence requirements are cleared by the government, they are opposed by the opposition parties and the same happens when roles change and opposition sits in government."

"That impinges very badly on our defence requirements," he said.

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