In a momentous occasion marking the 91st anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Group Captain Shaliza Dhami has etched her name in history as the first woman officer to lead the Indian Air Force Day Parade. This remarkable event showcases the IAF’s commitment to progress and inclusivity.
A Milestone for Gender Equality
This year’s Air Force Day Parade, held at Air Force Station Bamrauli in Prayagra, boasts numerous significant firsts. Group Captain Shaliza Dhami, an accomplished helicopter pilot, stands at the forefront of this celebration of gender equality and diversity.
Leading the Way Twice
Group Captain Shaliza Dhami’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Before leading the Air Force Day Parade, she achieved another groundbreaking feat in March by becoming the first woman to take command of a frontline IAF combat unit. Currently, she leads a missile squadron in the Western sector, solidifying her place in history.
Diversity Takes Center Stage
Including an all-women contingent and Garud commandos in the parade underscores the IAF’s commitment to diversity and equality within its ranks. The parade is further enriched by the participation of Agniveer Vayu, an all-women contingent, who march shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.
Women in uniform progressively take on pivotal roles once primarily reserved for men. They are actively flying fighter planes, serving aboard warships, entering the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre, becoming eligible for permanent commission, and undergoing training at the National Defence Academy.
Breaking Barriers in Special Forces
The IAF and the Navy have opened doors for women officers in their special forces units, including the Garud commando force and Marine Commandos, as long as they meet the stringent selection criteria.
Group Captain Shaliza Dhami’s leadership at the Indian Air Force Day Parade is a testament to the strides made in gender equality and diversity within the Indian Armed Forces. Her journey, alongside the inclusion of all-women contingents and Garud commandos, reflects the commitment to breaking barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse future in the Indian military.
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