New Delhi, Nov 18: India's first women President, Pratibha Patil will be flying in a Sukhoi fighter jet, but the Indian Air Force maintains that women fighter pilots are not 'economically viable.'
Vice-Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal P K Barbora, on Tuesday, Nov 17, gave a statement, which suggests that women IAF officers must delay pregnancy if they want to become fighter pilots.
Addressing a press conference here, Barabora said, "We might see this change (women as fighter pilots) coming in with certain pre-conditions - that till this age we require you to be happy, be married (but) let us hope that you don't have an offspring."
"Once the lady goes the family way, she will be off flying for 10 months. And when we have invested so much, it is not a fruitful development," he added.
The IAF currently has 784 women officers working in various fields, barring the fighter stream.
However, Barbora assured women IAF officers that there would be a change down the line.
"A few years from now, there will be some change. However, we will not induct women just for the sake of it but for optimally utilising their potential," he said.