Pune, Nov 25: Dressed in a G-suit, President Pratibha Patil flew into the record books by becoming the first woman President and the oldest woman to fly an Indian fighter jet on Wednesday, Nov 25.
A relaxed and confident President sat in the jet before taking off on a 30-minute sortie from the Lohegaon air base in Pune.
The President shared her experience in a press conference after the sortie. She said that she was mesmerized by the way the pilot maneuvered the Sukhoi and that she had the honour of receiving instructions from Wing Commander S Sajan on how to maneuver the fighter plane.
Expressing pride in the Indian security forces, Patil said, "I admire the capability, spirit and the sacrifice of the armed forces."
Since the time the news President's plans to fly the fighter plane came to light, the country guessed that the 74-year-old wanted to send out a strong message of women's empowerment through this feat.
The discussion at the press conference after President's date with history also focused on the topic of women in the armed forces.
When questioned, the President said that there were no doubts that women are as capable as men. She, however, left it to the experts to make the decision on the role of women in combat forces.
This comes amid the controversy stirred by the Vice-Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal P K Barbora who said that the women IAF officers must delay pregnancy if they want to become fighter pilots.