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Air Force says women are not a liability
Published on 25 Nov. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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Barely a week after the Vice Chief of the Air Staff PK Barbora’s comment that women are a liability for Air Force, Chief of Air Staff Pradeep Naik has disagreed with Barbora’s claim. According to a report in NDTV, speaking at a press conference at Air Maintenance Command Headquarters in Nagpur, Naik said that women are certainly no liability on Air Force. And government machinery is no inefficient, not at least in Defence Ministry. “We are doing a global study and getting inputs from nations who have inducted women as fighter pilots on matters like fitness and viability but women are certainly no liability on Air Force,” said Chief of Air staff Pradeep Naik. The Air Chief spoke on a range if issues. On Chinese threat he said: “We are ready, we are absolutely ready. Please be assured and tell our fellow countrymen.” On joining action against Naxals he said: “I am personally against using Air Force against Naxals as there is lack of precise intelligence and also there is fear of harming innocent citizens.” Naik further said: “This is because, our forces are trained to be lethal, to inflict deadly and maximum impact on the other side. We only are seeking permission to retaliate when attacked.” However, he said that if government asked his force, they will join. Last week Air Marshal PK Barbora offered this startling opinion, “Nature’s way of life is that you get married, bring up a family. Now the latest position on ladies flying is that if a lady goes into family way, she is off-duty for 10 out of 12 months. Now while we can always utilize... a lady in some other job, but in the pure profession in which we have invested so much if the poor lady herself who has contributed so much... if we cannot utilise... then it is not fruitful for either party. But we are looking at it and in a few more years we can see a change coming with certain pre-conditions.” PK Barbora faced angry reactions from women activists, and from women in the Armed Forces, who pointed out that their careers entail daily battles against sexism. So, while China, Israel, America and even our neighbour Pakistan have all allowed women into combat, Indian forces remain shy. In their defence, India says only one out of 7 women remain in Pakistan’s combat force but that’s one more than us.

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