Indian Navy takes a big step towards promoting gender equality as Sub-Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub-Lieutenant Riti Singh is all set to be the first women officers to be deployed on Navy warships as part of ship’s crew. Both the officers are selected as “Observers” (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream and have marked a special space in the Indian Navy as they are the first set of women airborne tacticians to operate from the deck of warships in India. Before this remarkable decision by the Indian Navy, women were restricted only to the fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.
According to a statement given by the navy, the two officers are a part of a group of 17 Indian Navy officers including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at the ceremony held on Monday, September 21 at INS Garuda, Kochi. The group has 13 officers of Regular batch along with four women officers of Short Service Commission Batch. The ceremony at Kochi was lead by Rear Admiral Antony George, Chief Staff Officer (Training) who awarded ‘Wings’ to the graduating officers. Along with this, six officers (five from the Indian Navy including a woman, and one from the Indian Coast Guard) were also awarded Instructor Badge on their successful completion of graduation as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI).
The young women officers, Sub-Lieutenant Kumudini and Sub-Lieutenant Riti are under training to operate a host of sensors onboard navy multi-role helicopters, including sonar consoles and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) payloads along with the navy’s new MH-60 R helicopters. The historic decision was long-awaited due to the lack of privacy for women in crew quarters and gender-specific facilities which have now been overcome to make way for women in warships.