Just ahead of International Women’s Day, the Indian Air Force made an announcement that Group Captain Shaliza Dhami has been appointed to lead a frontline combat unit in the Western sector, making her the first female officer in the IAF’s history to hold such a position. This is a remarkable achievement for Dhami, who has broken the glass ceiling and paved the way for future female officers in the IAF. In the IAF, the position of Group Captain is equivalent to that of a Colonel in the Indian Army.
Dhami has an impressive career record, having achieved several firsts over 15 years of service. She was born in Ludhiana, Punjab, and had her first solo flight in a HAL HPT-32 Deepak in 2003. She joined the IAF as a Flying Officer in the same year and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in 2005 and Squadron Leader in 2009. In 2019, she became the first woman IAF officer to be promoted to Flight Commander of a flying unit.
With over 2,800 hours of flying experience, Dhami will now oversee missile readiness and command control in the sensitive border sectors of the country. She has been commended twice by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief and is currently posted in the Operations branch of a frontline Command Headquarters.