Nari Shakti! How the Navy’s all-women crew made history in Porbandar

You go girls! Five officers from the Indian Navy made history when they completed the first all-women independent maritime reconnaissance a...

You go girls!

Five officers from the Indian Navy made history when they completed the first all-women independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a state-of-the-art Dornier 228 aircraft on Wednesday.

The five officers — Lieutenant Commander Aanchal Sharma, Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite, and Tactical and Sensor Officers, Lt Pooja Panda and SLt Pooja Shekhawat — are from Navy’s INAS 314, a frontline Naval Air Squadron, based at Naval Air Enclave at Porbandar.

INAS 314, the sixth Dornier aircraft squadron, was commissioned at Gujarat’s Porbandar coast in November 2019. The squadron has a very strategic location and serves a crucial role in surveillance in the North Arabian Sea.

After the completion of their mission on 3 August, the Navy in a statement said that the officers had received months of ground training and comprehensive mission briefings ahead of the flying.

“It was indeed a mission that showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ in its real spirit,” said the Navy.

In a statement, the Navy said: “This first-of-its-kind military flying mission was, however, unique and is expected to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles. It perhaps marks a unique achievement for the Armed Forces that a crew of only women officers undertook an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft.”

Empowering women

The Navy has been a frontrunner in driving transformation in the Armed Forces — from inducting women pilots, their inclusion into the helicopter stream and conducting an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition across the globe in 2018.

In 2018, six naval officers had scripted history when they became the first all-woman military team and the first Asian women’s team to circumnavigate the globe.

Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, who captained the expedition with her crew – Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta — set out on the expedition called Navika Sagar Parikrama, during which they covered over 22,000 nautical miles, three oceans, three great capes and five ports across 254 days in a newly-inducted naval vessel, the INSV Tarini. They returned to India in May 2018, after a life-changing journey.

Even in the recently-concluded registration for the Agniveer scheme, the Navy received over 80,000 applications from women candidates.

As of now, the Navy has 30 women officers at present sailing on different Indian Navy ships.

With inputs from agencies

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India World News: Nari Shakti! How the Navy’s all-women crew made history in Porbandar
Nari Shakti! How the Navy’s all-women crew made history in Porbandar
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