This IAF Day Parade, Indian Air Force Welcomes Their First Female Parade Commander

by Mallika Khurana
This IAF Day Parade, Indian Air Force Welcomes Their First Female Parade Commander

In a historic moment that exemplifies progress and equality within the Indian armed forces, Group Captain Shaliza Dhami is set to take command of the Indian Air Force Day parade. This remarkable event, marking the 91st anniversary of the Indian Air Force, will be held at the air force station Bamrauli in Prayagraj. Group Captain Shaliza Dhami is a distinguished helicopter pilot and a trailblazer in her own right. She has shattered glass ceilings before and now prepares to etch her name in the annals of military history as she leads the parade.

Group Captain Shaliza Dhami Takes Charge Of The IAF Day Parade

A helicopter pilot, Dhami had already achieved the distinction of being the first woman to lead a frontline IAF combat unit back in March, where she heads a missile squadron in the western sector. As per the reports from Hindustan Times, Dhami was commissioned into the IAF in 2003 and is a qualified flying instructor with more than 2,800 hours of flying experience.

This milestone event occurs at a time when the Indian armed forces are actively increasing opportunities for women, Placing them on equal footing with their male counterparts is a step in the right direction. Notably, the parade will feature an all-women contingent, known as Agniveer Vayu, who will march alongside their male counterparts. The parade will also showcase a flight of Garud commandos for the first time.

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Paving The Way For Gender Equality

The Indian Air Force and Navy have made significant strides in promoting gender equality by allowing women officers to join their special forces units. These include the Garud commando force and Marine Commandos, provided the women meet the rigorous selection criteria.

During this momentous occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari will unveil the new ensign for the air force in Prayagraj. According to the Hindustan Times reports, this ensign features the IAF crest in the top right corner, which is a departure from the previous design. The current ensign, adopted over seven decades ago, displayed the national flag in the upper left canton and the IAF tri-colour roundel on the right. The new design features the Ashoka lion, the Himalayan eagle, and the IAF motto, “Nabh Sparsham Deeptam”.

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Additionally, the IAF Day flypast over Sangam in Prayagraj will see the participation of various aircraft, including Rafales, Sukhoi-30s, Mirage-2000s, MiG-29s, Jaguars, LCA Tejas, C-17s, C-130Js, IL-76s, AN-32s, Chinooks, Apaches, and Hawks. 

This year’s flypast holds special significance as it marks the final appearance of the IAF’s MiG-21 fighter jets.

Cover Image Courtesy: Jagdish Rajpurohit/Instagram

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