Defence attachés: India

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Women as attachés


Nov 13, 2019: The Times of India

The Navy has selected its first woman officer for the post of a defence attaché abroad, which comes a month after the Indian Air Force posted Wing Commander Anjali Singh as the deputy air attaché at the Indian embassy in Moscow.

Sources said Lt-Commander (equivalent to an Army Major) Karabi Gogoi, a naval engineer currently posted at the Karwar base in Karnataka, has been selected for the post of the assistant naval attaché also at the Indian embassy in Russia. “Lt-Commander Gogoi will finish her Russian language course this month. She is likely to take over the new post in Moscow in December after requisite approvals,” said a source.

The appointments of Wing Commander Singh and Lt-Commander Gogoi are the first for women officers to have been selected for defence diplomacy in the maledominated environs of the armed forces. If the former as an aeronautical engineer specialises in handling fighter jets, the latter has experience in warship construction and maintenance.

Lt-Commander Gogoi, who grew up in Guwahati, was commissioned into the Navy in 2010. Her husband, Lt-Commander Pranjal Handique, is also a gunnery officer in the Navy.

“She was selected over other candidates for the diplomatic assignment after an interview conducted by a board of senior naval officers,” said the source.

India has well over 100 defence attachés or advisors posted in different countries across the globe, with some countries like the US, UK and Russia having representatives from all the three Services — the Army, Navy and IAF. DAs act as the main interface with the host country’s military authorities, while also assisting in security and protocol tasks as well as keeping track of the military technology available in the country. Russia, of course, is a long-standing strategic partner of India, having being the primary source for acquisition of weapon systems since 1960s.

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