: Commemorating International Women's Day, the first woman captain of hovercraft H-197 Anuradha Shukla along with her colleague and deputy commandant Shirin Chandran arrived here Friday after undertaking a 500-km journey on rough seas.
Shukla and Chandran were among the first four women to be trained to operate air-cushion vehicles popularly known as hovercraft.
After commencing their surveillance voyage from Coast Guard Station, Mandapam, near Rameshwaram, on March 6 and patrolling the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay, the officers moored the H-197 at the Coast Guard headquarters here in the afternoon.
Coast Guard undertook a major step towards empowering women and facilitating greater gender parity, and became the first force to deploy women officers in operational roles on board ships.
"By doing so, India joins a select few nations, including Australia, Germany, Israel and the United States, which have allowed the women officers to take on command roles for law enforcement", an official press release said.
The women officers have been trained to handle all types of situations including interception of suspicious activity boats like the one used during the 26/11 terror attacks.
Anuradha Shukla became the first woman captain of the craft to independently pilot the hovercraft during operational sorties in the eastern region of Coast Guard.
The team has been deployed in Mandapam in order to provide them with varied operational scenario so that they become confident and capable of handling all missions of Coast Guard, including boarding suspicious vessels, chasing boats in high seas or nabbing smugglers.
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