Women in Uniform

The Indian Navy has redefined gender equality in key roles by shortlisting two female officers, Sub Lieutenants Riti Singh and Kumudini Tyagi, as helicopter crew, making them the first female air combatants to stay on and operate from the deck of a ship once deployed.

Sub Lt Riti and Kumudinii are the first two female airborne combatants to be deployed from a warship. So far, female Navy officers was restricted to the fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.

By Team Mojo, 18 Sep 2021

According to the officers, women are now flying multi-role helicopters from naval warships, and they feel a sense of responsibility for it. They would do their absolute best and set a good example for the next generation.

“I cleared SSB in my third attempt, but every time I realised that I’m closer to my aim,” said Sub Lt Kumudini.

When it comes to their journey, Sub Lt Tyagi does not come from a military family. She read about the Navy and watched videos about it on YouTube, and she was inspired by Lt Kiran Shekhawat, a Navy woman officer who died in the line of duty in a Dornier crash in 2015.

She discussed how difficult it was to persuade her parents of the importance of the Indian Armed Forces and how they have been supportive ever since she did.

On the other hand, Sub Lt Riti Kumar has always been around men in uniform. She had this goal from a young age because she was inspired by her father, a naval officer, and his lifestyle and dedication to his work.

“We are soldiers first,” said Sub Lt Kumundini.

The officers do not want to be evaluated as Women Naval Aviators but as Naval Aviators. They want to be judged solely on the merit of our work rather from a gender lens.

“Only barrier is in terms of operational terms,” said Sub Lt Riti. Inquiring about gender or biological reasons for barriers in the Navy.

“we don’t give other people an opportunity to use biology against us.”

Riti stated that there is no gender stigma in the Indian Navy and that we are open about our problems if they arise. And if anyone is concerned about safety or discrimination in the Indian Armed Forces, she said that “Navy is supportive, and everyone is treated equally.”

They have already completed 60 hours of flight training and will now specifically train on their helicopter for the next 9-10 months.

The officers’ message to all young girls is to be focused on their goals and to work hard to achieve them. There are numerous resources available online, so one should take advantage of them and work toward their objectives.