India would be celebrating its 83rd Air Force Day on October 8 2015. It is yet another occasion to be proud of the armed force which not only secures the Indian airspace from any external attacks but also shoulders the responsibility to safeguard India from internal and natural risks, such as providing help during natural calamities. While we salute of Air Force for all that they do for us, this year we pay a special dedication to female pilot Sneha Shekhawat.
In 2012, Flight Lieutenant (now Squadron Leader) Sneha Shekhawat led a team of 144 Air Force personnel at Delhi’s Republic Day Parade and became the first woman in India’s history to achieve the feat.
Sq Ldr Shekhawat, who fly’s IAF’s Avro Aircraft and is currently posted in Vadodara IAF base, wishes to fly the IAF’s leading fighter Sukhoi-32 MKI. Talking about the dream she once told Times of India
“That day will come. The aircraft knows no gender.”
The ‘Air Force Lady’ from Rajasthan, always knew she wanted to become a pilot.
Her resolve to join the Indian Air Force grew stronger after the Kargil War.
Recalling the time Sneha said:
“During the Kargil war I had decided that I wanted to join the Air Force and I had applied for the exam. After I had joined the force everyone would come and tell me that I would never be able to fly after my wedding. I accepted the challenge and luckily was married to a an air force officer.”
Sneha is married to Squadron Leader Saurabh, who is a AN-32 pilot. He, too, is posted at the Vadodara IAF base. Sneha Shekhawat was selected in the NDA in year 2007 and received the Hyderabad Training Centre Award for the Best Lady Pilot. In 2011 she was second-in-command of the Air Force contingent at the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. A year later she created that historic moment.
Squadron Leader Shekhawat is the first and only woman officer to lead a marching contingent twice on Republic Day.
We saw her leading Indian Air Force’s all-women marching contingent this year.