Captain Zoya Agarwal reacts to PM Modi's speech on Indian women pilots: Watch | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Captain Zoya Agarwal reacts to PM Modi's speech on Indian women pilots: Watch

Aug 15, 2023 02:22 PM IST

In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi said, “Today, we can proudly say that India has the maximum number of women pilots in civil aviation.”

Captain Zoya Agarwal, who became the first female commander to fly one of the world’s longest air routes over the North Pole – between San Francisco and Bengaluru – with an all-female flight crew, reacted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day address on Tuesday in which he claimed that India has the maximum number of women pilots in civil aviation.

Captain Zoya Agarwal
Captain Zoya Agarwal

“PM Modi mentioned that India has the highest number of women commercial pilots in the world and I am extremely proud of this fact. This is propelling that women have led developments not only in the aviation sector but also in other sectors,” Zoya Agrawal said in a video message.

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Addressing from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 77th Independence Day, Modi said India is focusing on women-led development, and highlighted the achievements made in various fields, including, aviation.

The one thing that will take the country forward is women-led development, he said.

"Today, we can proudly say that India has the maximum number of women pilots in civil aviation," Modi said, adding women scientists are leading the Chandrayaan mission.

The G20 countries are also recognising the importance of women-led development in India, the PM said.

Referring to the works being done by women SHGs in rural India, Modi said his dream is to see two crore women become “lakhpati”, and the government is contemplating measures to realise the goal.

The government, he said, is working on a new scheme to increase the use of technology in the agriculture sector and promote agritech.

"We will train women in SHGs to fly drones and also repair drones. The Government of India will provide drones to thousands of Women SHGs," he said.

Initially, 15,000 women SHGs would be covered under the scheme, he said.

Who is Zoya Agarwal?

An all-female flight India pilot team commanded by Zoya Agarwal flew the world's longest air route from San Francisco (SFO) in the United States to Bengaluru in India for the first time in 2021, crossing the North Pole, operating a Boeing 777.

She became the youngest woman pilot in India to fly a Boeing-777 in 2013.

As a precautionary measure during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government initiated Vande Bharat Mission in May 2020 to evacuate around 14,800 Indians from 12 countries on 64 Air India flights. Agarwal was chosen to co-pilot the first repatriation flight by the airline.

Agarwal is one of the gender equality spokespersons at the United Nations (UN), and she has pioneered encouraging females and youth to fulfil their dreams.

Agarwal found her place in the San Francisco-based aviation museum as the first Indian woman pilot to fly an aeroplane above the North Pole. The US-based aviation museum was impressed by the achievement of all Air India's women pilots, and thus they offered a place in their museum.

The museum was launched at San Francisco International Airport in 1980, utilising little more than images on walls as a means to beautify and humanise the airport`s environment.

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