Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane announced that the Indian Army has decided to induct women as pilots in its aviation wing. The training of the first batch of women officers will begin in July.

“The Adjutant General’s branch, the Military Secretary branch and the Aviation Directorate have arrived at a consensus that women officers can be there in the flying branch for flying duties,” Naravane said at a press conference ahead of Army Day on January 15.

“The next course will start in July and women officers will definitely be admitted into it for pilot training. After one year’s training they will be able to join frontline operations units for flying duties,” he added.

Currently, the Army’s aviation wing allows women only for air traffic control and ground duties.

When Naravane was asked about the gallantry awards for the 20 Indian Army personnel who were killed in Galwan Valley clash, he replied: “It is not just for officers and jawans who were martyred in Galwan. Throughout the past year, there have been many gallant actions carried out by our men. Some of these actions have resulted casualties on our own side also. All these actions, citations have been received.”

“They have been evaluated on merit and recommendations made for all those who have performed acts of gallantry and valour have been forwarded to the ministry for final approval,” he added.

On June 15, 20 of the Indian Army personnel were killed while fighting the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh. All of them are expected to be conferred with gallantry awards on Republic Day.