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First Woman Commanding Officer


In a groundbreaking move aligning with the Indian Navy’s philosophy of “all roles-all ranks,” Lieutenant Commander Shaliza Dhami has been appointed as the first woman commanding officer in a naval ship. She will lead INS Trinkat, a fast attack craft stationed in the western seaboard, marking a significant step in deploying women in various roles within the naval service.


GS III: Defence and Security

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About INS Trinkat
  2. About Shaliza Dhami
  3. Women in the Indian Armed Forces

About INS Trinkat:

Design and Construction:

  • INS Trinkat is a patrol vessel of the Indian Navy.
  • It was designed and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Operational Roles:

  • The patrol vessel is dedicated to various operational roles, including fisheries protection, anti-poaching, counter-insurgency, and search-and-rescue operations.
  • Its operational area covers coastal regions and the exclusive economic zone.

Naming Convention:

  • Vessels of this class are named after Trinkat Island, one of the 24 islands constituting the Nicobar Islands chain in the northeast Indian Ocean.

About Shaliza Dhami:

  • Group Captain Shaliza Dhami is an officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Pioneer Achievements:

  • She is the first woman officer in the IAF to receive a permanent commission.
  • Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the first woman to become a Flight Commander in the IAF.
  • Shaliza Dhami is the first woman IAF officer to be selected in a front-line combat unit.

Navigation Expertise:

  • She is a qualified navigation instructor.
  • Her role has involved training observers inducted into the Navy.

Maritime Experience:

  • Shaliza Dhami is noted as the first woman officer who served as an observer in the Navy’s Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft.
  • Her appointment as the commanding officer of INS Trinkat marks a historic moment as the first woman to assume command of a naval ship.

Women in the Indian Armed Forces:

  • Total Women Officers:
    • There are 10,493 women officers serving in the Indian Armed Forces, which includes its medical services.
  • Distribution Across Services:
    • The Army, being the largest of the three services, has the highest number of women officers at 1,705.
    • The Indian Air Force (IAF) follows with 1,640 women officers, and the Navy has 559 women officers.
  • Commanding Positions:
    • Several women officers in the Army hold commanding positions, leading various units across the country.
  • Inclusion in the Navy’s Submarine Arm:
    • The Navy’s submarine arm is open to women, allowing them to volunteer, clear an aptitude test, and undergo rigorous training before deployment.
  • Growing Strength:
    • The overall strength of women in the armed forces, referred to as Agniveers, has surpassed the 1,000 mark.
    • These statistics reflect the commitment to the philosophy of ‘all roles, all ranks,’ emphasizing the inclusive deployment of women in various capacities within the service.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024