Breaking Barriers: The Group Captain Shaliza Dhami on International Women’s Day

Breaking Barriers: The Group Captain Shaliza Dhami on International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, Group Captain Shaliza Dhami becomes the first woman in India to take over command of an IAF combat unit.

The Indian Air Force announced Tuesday, 7th March that it has selected Group Captain Shaliza Dhami to take over command of a frontline combat unit in the Western sector facing Pakistan’s territorial region. She became the first woman to do so in IAF history with great Pride. Currently, she is posted in the operations branch of a frontline headquarters

Let’s know more about Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami

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Image Source: DNP India

She is an officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF) who is the first woman officer to receive a permanent commission and become a Flight Commander. She was born in Ludhiana, Punjab, and holds a BTech in Electronics and Communication. Her parents were government servants and she decided too early to join the Indian Air Force. On a short service commission, she was commissioned as a flying officer in 2003 IAF.

After two years, she was posted as a Flight Lieutenant, and later on, she became a Squadron Leader in 2009. Group Captain Shaliza Dhami has over 2800 hours of flying experience and was a qualified flying instructor on Cheetah and Chetak helicopters at Hindon air base, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, making her the first woman to do so. She took her first solo flight in 2003 in a HAL HPT-32 Deepak and later she never stops!

In the past, Group Captain Dhami has been commended twice by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief. Being a flying instructor, she served as a chopper pilot in several search-and-rescue missions. She also witnessed some flood relief operations with the team.

As an NCC cadet, she familiarized herself with training and operations that take place in the armed forces and she made her mindset to join the Indian Air Force. 

What does it feel like to be a part of the Indian Air Force?

Indian Air Force is one of the armed forces among five divisions of armed forces in India and is ranked as the third most powerful air force in the world to be a part of it is a great pride. Indian armed forces took the initiative to induct women to serve a nation and with this opportunity, women are doing as well as men. IAF started inducting women as pilots in 2016; the first batch only had three female fighter pilots.

After succeeding in this field, currently, 18 women are fighter pilots flying MIG-21s, MIG-29s, Sukhois, and Rafales. In this era, we see, women as capable as men in every field and performing well too. Women officers have started promoting various Army units and serving as Engineers, Signals, Army Air Defence, Intelligence corps, Army service, Indian Navy cops, Ordnance corps, etc. The Indian Navy has also started inducting women as officers on frontline ships.

Many of them have been posted in highly critical regions like northern and western commands of the Indian Army. In India, there are 10,493 women officers who are serving in Indian Armed Forces, majorly in the medical services.

The Indian Army is the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces, having 1705 women officers which is the largest among all other armed forces, followed by 1640 in the Indian Air Force and 559 in the Indian Navy as stated by the Indian government last year.

On International Women’s Day, Group Captain Dhami has inspired all who want to serve the nation worldwide. It is a proud moment for all Indians.

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