Wing Commander Anjali Singh is the first woman to be appointed as a military diplomat in Indian missions abroad. According to a tweet from Indian Embassy Moscow, the 41-year-old Indian Air Force officer joined the embassy in Russia on 10th September 2019.
Not your usual Anjali
Anjali, who hails from Bihar, became a commissioned officer in the Air Force in 2001. She was stationed at Jaipur where she was a part of the aeronautical engineering branch of the Air Force. Singh is also trained in Mig-29 fighter aircraft. An IAF official told HT that the officer had served her military career for 17 years with fighter squadrons. Anjali is married and has an eight-year-old son.
Till now, only male officers hailing from the three services- Navy, Army, Air force- were appointed as military attaches in Indian missions abroad. The transformation came during Nirmala Sitharaman’s, then Defence Minister, tenure when she backed the proposal to give military women more exposure globally. Wing Commander Anupama Joshi, one of the first women to join the air force in 1993, said that the Indian women had made their mark overseas since Chonira Belliappa Muthamma became the first Indian woman diplomat decades ago.
The Army and the Navy will reportedly be appointing women officers as defense attaches shortly depending on the candidate’s meeting the requirement.
Since the 1960s, Russia is a long-standing strategic partner and source for acquisition of weapons for India. Anjali will be assisting in cooperation, training, and procurement in the field of defense between the two nations. She has been appointed at a time when India is expected to begin acquiring the S-400 Triumf SAM (surface-to-air missile) from Russia from next year onwards.