20:30 GMT02 March 2021
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    Shubhangi Swaroop from the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh will fly the maritime reconnaissance aircraft, paving way for more women to be deployed as naval officers.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — In yet another attempt by India to promote sexual equality in the armed forces, the Indian Navy has received its first female pilot. Two other female officers have been inducted into the Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) branch, which has so far been dominated by men.

    The Indian Navy's aviation branch has had women officers in the past but their role was limited to serving as air traffic control officers and as observers in the aircraft who are responsible for communication and weapons. Presently, the Indian Navy has approximately 600 women serving as medical and supporting staff.

    The Indian Armed Forces had been skeptical about introducing women in a fighting capacity but promises to reverse the trend have been made by the administration in the last few years. Last year the Indian Air Force allowed women to fly fighter jets on an experimental basis. India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the first woman to hold the post full-time, had promised to ensure gender equality in the armed forces when she took the oath of office in September this year.



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