Jaipur: Indian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Swati Rathore, who hails from Rajasthan, will script a new chapter in the history of woman empowerment by becoming the first woman to lead the flypast on the main Republic Day parade at Delhi's Rajpath.
Her proud father, Dr Bhavani Singh Rathore said: "My daughter has let me hold my head high. I am overwhelmed as the dream which she saw has turned into reality."
Rathore, who is a Deputy Director in the state's Agriculture Department, also appealed all parents to help their daughters fulfil their dreams.
Born in a small village in Rajasthan's Nagaur district, Swati did her schooling from Ajmer. During her childhood, she made a tricolour in a painting competition, making evident her ardent love for her nation. Eventually, her parents pushed her to realise her dream and post schooling, she joined the NCC Air Wing.
Swati had cherished the dream to become a pilot and was selected in the IAF in her first attempt in 2014. Her brother is posted in the Merchant Navy.
Her mother Rajesh Kanwar says that she never treated her son and daughter differently, and this is the reason that her daughter is going to create history.
In 2013, Swati appeared in the Air Force Common Admission Test. After clearing it, she was called for an interview by the Air Force Selection Board, Dehradun, in March 2014.
According to Swati, there were around 200 female students from all over the country, out of which 98 were selected for screening. Only five students were left after the screening, in which only she was selected for the flying branch.
Her achievement drew praise from the state's leaders.
Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, in a tweet, said: "It is a matter of pride for all of us that the daughter of Veerbhoomi #Rajasthan and Flight Lieutenant of Air Force #SwatiRathore will lead the 'Fly Past' in the parade on Rajpath on the occasion of Republic Day. I wish her a bright future!"
Former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said: "My best wishes to Flight Lieutenant Swati Rathore, of the Indian Air Force, who will be the first woman to lead the flypast in the Republic Day parade this year. By this achievement, she has not only enhanced the pride of the state but has also set a unique example of women empowerment."