New Delhi: In a move aligned with the Navy’s commitment to “all roles-all ranks” and the inclusion of women in various capacities, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar announced the appointment of the first woman commanding officer for a naval ship on Friday.
The newly appointed officer, a Lieutenant Commander, is set to take command of INS Trinkat, a fast attack vessel stationed on the western seaboard. While she has yet to assume her new role, sources revealed that she is a qualified navigation instructor, actively involved in training observers enlisted in the Navy.
This marks the first instance of a woman assuming command of a naval ship, underscoring the Navy’s commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. Additionally, the officer has a notable background as the first woman to serve as an observer in the Navy’s Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft.
Admiral Kumar highlighted the rigorous qualification processes undergone by the officer, including exams and pre-commissioning training, emphasizing the Navy’s dedication to maintaining high standards. He also announced the Navy’s openness to women joining the submarine arm, provided they volunteer, pass an aptitude test, and undergo thorough training before deployment.
Admiral Kumar shared that the overall strength of women Agniveers in the Navy has surpassed 1,000, illustrating the success of the ‘all roles, all ranks’ approach to deploying women in the service.
This milestone comes after the Indian Air Force appointed Group Captain Shaliza Dhami in March to lead a frontline combat unit in the western sector. Notably, numerous women officers in the Army are currently commanding various units across the country.
As of the latest available data submitted to Parliament last year, the Indian Armed Forces boast 10,493 women officers, including those in medical services. The Army leads with 1,705 women officers, followed by 1,640 in the Indian Air Force and 559 in the Navy, reflecting the ongoing progress towards gender inclusivity in the defense forces.