US President Barack Obama's visit to India for the Republic Day parade is on the path of turning out to be a gigantic public relations success for the Narendra Modi government. Just two days after the Prime Minister launched the government's ambitious 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' campaign, the country witnessed the first guard of honour in the country's history led by a woman officer.
Wing commander Puja Thakur of the Indian Air Force led the guard of honour in the Raj Bhavan in what is being hailed as a inspiring move by the Modi government.
NDTV reported: "President Obama was given a 21-gun salute at the forecourt of the majestic presidential palace, after which Wing Commander Thakur walked him for the inspection of the Guard of Honour. She is the first woman officer to lead a tri-services Guard of Honour."
Thakur told NDTV that while she was proud of the fact that she was allowed to lead the guard of honour, she really hoped that the incident inspired more women to join the armed forces in the country.
The Times of India reported that Thakur has served the IAF for 13 and half years and currently works as an administrative officer in the Air Force's public relations cell DISHA, in the New Delhi Air Headquarters. "She is a para jumper, and hails from Rajasthan," reported TOI.
Speaking to ANI, Thakur said, "Right from training days we are treated just like male officers. So, we are officers first and women later."
Incidentally, speaking in Haryana a couple of days back, PM Modi raised his pitch on the issue of women's empowerment and announced the 'Sukanya Samriddhi account' to make sure girl children are born and are allowed to continue education. He even called female foeticide a form of 'mental illness'.
"I hope this inspires girls to see that lady officers are commanding contingents of men. Also, people are accepting it. That's the message for everyone to come and join the services," 36-year-old Thakur told NDTV.
The Modi government, along with scoring a brownie point for itself, seems to have done its bit to encourage women to join the armed forces.
Twitter, which has been obsessing over Obama's visit too hailed Thakur and the idea of her leading the guard of honour. Following are a few tweets on the same:
— #BJP Uttar Pradesh (@BJPLucknowBJP) January 25, 2015
— The-Lying-Lama (@KyaUkhaadLega) January 25, 2015
— Dr Swati Dwivedi (@_swati_dwivedi) January 25, 2015
A welcome new role model for our girls...Wing Commander Puja Thakur! Here's to many more women in the services n in leadership positions.
— debjani ghosh (@debjani_ghosh_) January 25, 2015
— Sumukh Saurabh (@sumukh333) January 25, 2015
— monisha prasad (@monishaprasad) January 25, 2015
Meanwhile, extremely proud of Wing Commander Puja Thakur. Neither Modi, nor Obama, she is the real star today. #NamastePOTUS
— Anshul Kumar Pandey (@anshul_pandey) January 25, 2015
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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2015 08:36:12 IST