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    Indian Air Force MiG-21. (File)

    Creating History: India's First Woman Fighter Pilot Flies Solo on MiG-21 Bison

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    For over 50 years, MiG-21 variants have been serving the Indian armed forces, and their quick reaction time still makes them potent for interception and ground attack roles.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi has become the first Indian woman fighter pilot to fly solo. The Indian Air Force (IAF) said that Chaturvedi flew a MiG-21 Bison in her first training solo sortie, in Jamnagar, Gujarat on Monday.

    "My heartiest congratulations to Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi for successfully clearing her first solo sortie on a MiG-21 'Bison' fighter. The IAF has always taken a lead in providing an equal platform to women officers. It's a red letter day for the country," Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa told the Times of India.

    The first three women fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force, from left, Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth pose for photographs after the graduation parade at the Indian Air Force academy in Dundigal, outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Saturday, June 18, 2016
    © AP Photo / Mahesh Kumar A.
    The first three women fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force, from left, Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth pose for photographs after the graduation parade at the Indian Air Force academy in Dundigal, outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Saturday, June 18, 2016

    The IAF has given the MiG-21 Bison to the first three women fighter pilots, as it considers the aircraft best suited for sharpening the skills of new flyers, as they have more manual features compared to other, more sophisticated aircraft.

    Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth, and Mohana Singh comprise the first batch of women fighter pilots who were commissioned in 2016 into the IAF — previously considered a male bastion. The decision to let women assume combat roles was taken by the Indian government in October 2015. Meanwhile, combat roles in the Army are still not permitted for women, due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints. The Indian Navy is also considering the idea of deploying women on warships.

    READ MORE: India's First Woman Defense Minister Plans to Overcome Gender Inequality in Army

    The country's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman resolved to end gender inequality in the armed forces when she took over the ministry last year.

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    Tags:
    MiG-21, combat, women, air force, Indian Air Force, India
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