Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Feb.7 (ANI): Still not ready to have women officers on board, the Indian Navy can take a hint from the Royal Malaysian Navy which has Lieutenant Farah-al-Habshi onboard a warship here for Exercise Milan, a multinational exercise witnessing the participation of 13 navies of the Asia-Pacific region.
The Indian Navy inducts women officers only in the education, logistics, law and air traffic control branches.
Hailing from an Islamic nation, a love for the seas inspired Lieutenant Farah to join the navy as a weapons officer. This should inspire the Indian Navy to improve the working environment for the women onboard its ships.
"I have no problem working onboard with men. We have separate accommodation and I share my cabin with another woman logistics officer," said Lieutenant Farah, who is posted on Royal Malaysian Navy ship K D Perak, which is in India for Exercise Milan.
Wearing the traditional head scarf, she said there is no problem in working onboard as long as our privacy is maintained and "we have proper space to work according to guidelines of the Malaysian Navy."
The chief of the Malaysian offshore patrol vessel K D Perak, Commander Ismail Bin Othoman, said: "Our new ships are designed keeping in mind the future. We have cabins with attached bathrooms which give privacy to the women officers onboard and to ensure that they do not have any other problems."
"We follow proper guidelines and women cannot walk around in any room they like onboard and mix around on their will. If one goes around the ship, one can find no entry signs where men cannot go," he added.
The K D Perak is a new generational vessel from Malaysia and was launched in 2007. The ship has a displacement of 1650 tonnes and is fitted with surface to air and surface to surface missiles.
Apart from Malaysia, the Australian, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka navies which are participating in Exercise Milan, too have separate facilities for women onboard their warships.
Exercise Milan is a biennial gathering of navies of the Indian Ocean region and is held for building friendship and mutual understanding between participating navies. This year's multinational exercise takes place from February 4-8 at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Naval ships of Singapore (two ships), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar, with representatives from navies of Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand joining Exercise Milan. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)