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IAF not 'yet ready' for women fighter pilots

June 26, 2007 21:31 IST

The Indian Air Force is not 'yet ready' to induct women pilots to fly fighter jets, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said on Tuesday.

"In our country and in the IAF, we are not yet ready for it (allowing women to fly fighters)," Major said in an interview with television channel NDTV.

Conceding that women pilots and women in other branches of the IAF were doing a 'tremendous job' and there were no doubts about their capabilities, he said: "As to the induction of women in fighters, let me put it this way that we are not ready for it."

Major's remarks assume significance as they came in the wake of growing demands for allowing women to fly fighters as is being done in the US Air Force. The IAF has over the past few years inducted a number of women to fly transport aircraft and helicopters.

Asked about the acquisition of air strike power by the outlawed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Major said this was a cause of concern but it was not 'alarming.'     

On the delay in floating international tenders for purchasing 126 multi-role combat aircraft for his force, Major said final touches had been given to the request for proposals and he expected this to be issued shortly.

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