In remarks that could raise the hackles of the progressive fraternity, a top Indian Air Force official on Tuesday said women may be recruited as fighter pilots provided they do not become mother till a certain age.
"In a few years time, we might see this change (women being inducted as fighter pilots) coming in with certain pre-conditions that till this age we request you to be happy, be married, there ....you don't have an option," IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters in Delhi.
"After 13-14 years of service, investments made on fighter pilots are actually recovered by the government," he said in an indication that women fighter pilots will be allowed to have kids only after putting in 13-14 years in IAF.
Apparently sensing that such a move could spark a controversy, Barbora said it was not a final move and that such a condition may be brought in.
Now, women in the age group of 21-23 years are inducted into the flying branch and may be allowed to start family after crossing the 35-37 years age bracket. The IAF Vice-Chief said if a woman pilot has to take pregnancy leave, she will be off-flying for around 10 months, which will not be fruitful for both her and the Service.
Around Rs 1.16 crore is spent on training each fighter pilot. PTI