Sania Mirza to become India's first female Muslim fighter pilot? Air Force clarifies

Only two fighter pilot seats were reserved for women in this year's National Defence Academy exam, and the girl from Uttar Pradesh secured a slot

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Published: Fri 23 Dec 2022, 3:01 PM

A girl from Uttar Pradesh has been making headlines after passing India's National Defence exam, with several reports saying she is "set to become the country's first female Muslim fighter pilot".

While her success is remarkable — considering that only two such positions were reserved for women during the exam — she still has a long way to go to become an actual fighter pilot, the Indian Air Force (IAF) clarified in a statement on Friday.

"Any candidate joining NDA as an Air Force cadet in the flying branch has to undergo 3 years of combined training with his/ her coursemates from the other 2 services. The aim of NDA is to foster jointmanship amongst the services, hence training is common for all," according to the statement quoted in media reports.

"Assuming that the young woman featured in this article has received joining instructions for NDA, it would take 4 years from now for her to be commissioned as a pilot in the IAF. During these 4 years, she will have to successfully complete the designated training for the flying branch and have the aptitude and merit to make it as a fighter pilot," it added.

Sania, a resident of Jasovar village, will join NDA Khadakwasla in Pune on December 27 — making her parents and everyone in her district proud.

Her father Shahid Ali said: "Sania considers the country's first female fighter pilot Avni Chaturvedi as her role model. From the beginning, she wanted to be like her."


Sania studied from primary to Class 10 at Pandit Chintamani Dubey Inter College in her village. And then went to Guru Nanak Girls Inter College in the city. She was the district topper in the 12th UP Board.

She credits her success to her parents and her preparations at Centurion Defence Academy.

Only two fighter pilot positions were reserved for women in the National Defence Academy 2022 exam. "I could not grab a seat on the first attempt but I have found a place on my second attempt," she said.

In the National Defence Academy 2022 examination, there were a total of 400 seats including male and female. Nineteen were for women, and only two seats were reserved for fighter pilots.

Sania's mother Tabassum Mirza said: "Our daughter has made us and the entire village proud. She fulfils the dream of becoming the first fighter pilot. She inspired every girl in the village to follow their dreams."

(With inputs from ANI)


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