IAF Day Parade Led by Woman Officer For The First Time
Published On: 09 Oct 2023 Updated On: 12 Oct 2023
To mark its service, on the 91st anniversary of the Indian Air Force, group captain Shaliza Dhami led the parade. In a historic feat for the Indian Defence Forces, this was the first time a woman officer led the parade at Prayagraj on the 8th of October 2023. On Sunday, (8th October) she commanded the IAF day parade at the Air Force station in Bamrauli, Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. All the officials were aware of this matter beforehand, they said.
Shaliza Dhami is a helicopter pilot who was also the first woman to lead a frontline IAF combat unit in March. Along with this, she is the head of the missile squadron in the Western sector. She was appointed to the IAF in the year 2003 and Shaliza Dhami is a qualified flying instructor with more than 2,800 hours of flying logged in her service. Transformation and enhancement were seen when the armed forces opened borders for women and provided them with opportunities that made them on par with their male counterparts in the same field.
“Also for the first time, the parade will have an all-women contingent consisting of the newly inducted Agniveer Vayu, who shall march shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. The parade also includes a flight of Garud commandos for the first time,” announced, IAF spokesperson Wing commander Ashish Moghe, on Sunday 8th October.
Women are no longer in the back or on the margin but are commissioned with significant roles just like their male counterparts. Women are now flying fighter planes, working for board warships, being admitted to the PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank) cadre, being qualified for permanent commission, and receiving full training at the NDA (National Defence Academy).
Both the IAF and the Navy have permitted women officers to join their special forces units Garud Commando Force and Marine Commandos respectively aiming to promote equality in gender within their ranks with the criteria of meeting the requirements. The Air Force’s new flag was unveiled at Prayagraj by IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on 8th October. In this new ensign, the IAF crest will be featured in the top right corner which currently displays the national flag in the upper left canton and the IAF tri-color roundel on the right. The previous flag was adopted several decades ago and replaced the Royal Indian Air Force ensign that featured the Union Jack and the RIAF roundel (red, white, and blue).
The IAF crest consists of the Himalayan eagle spreading its wings below and with the Ashoka Lion on the top. A light blue ring surrounds the Himalayan eagle where Bhartiya Vayu Sena is written in Hindi on the ring. Nabh Sparsham Deeptam (Touch the Sky with Glory), which is the IAF’s motto is inscribed below the eagle in golden Devanagari.
This ensign drop came a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ensign of the Indian Navy which took place at the commissioning ceremony of aircraft carrier Vikrant. The flag drawing inspiration was from Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal and the Cross of St George.
The MiG-21 fighter jets flew past Sangam in Prayagraj for the last time in the IAF day parade. Around 110 aircraft which included IAF’s new transport plane named C-295 featured in the flypast. The display even included Sukhoi-30s, Mirage-2000s, Rafales, MiG-29s, Jaguars, LCA Tejas, C-17s, C-130Js, IL-76s, AN-32s, Chinooks, Apaches and Hawks in the IAF day parade.
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