New Delhi: The Indian Navy is all set to get its first batch of all women Observers. All cadets training as Observers at the Naval Academy in Kochi are women.
Observers are involved in planning tactical operations – they are actually the eyes and ears of the fleet.
The Indian Navy is celebrating a first - an all women batch of Observers is now under training at the Navy's Observer School in Kochi . When they graduate later this year, they'll move into the Navy's maritime reconnaissance stream, serving in Dornier, IL-38 or the TU-142 aircraft.
“Observers are the eyes and ears of the fleet. They plan tactical operations for the fleet. They fly in multi crew aircraft and use radars and allied sensors to search, detect, track and prosecute enemy ships and submarines at sea,” said Vice Admiral Venkat Bharathan, Former Vice Chief, Indian Navy.
Being invaluable both in war and peace, the post of an Observer gives women a meatier role in the Indian Navy. But they still aren't allowed to fly naval fighter jets or helicopters, or serve on ships at sea. But experts are positive that things will change.
“The Navy is gender sensitive but it is not gender biased. I am confident that with the passage of time, the Navy would progressively have women in all its branches,” said Vice Admiral Venkat Bharathan, Former Vice Chief, Indian Navy.
It was a severe shortage of Observers that nudged the Navy into introducing a short service commission scheme for women recently. Could shortages in other streams then, translate into a bigger role for women? Given the sensitivities about women in combat roles, that perhaps is not a decision solely for the navy to take.