TN-AFGHAN WOMEN-OTA (rpt)
Head scarf-clad Zuhra Nabizada
showed no traces of emotion as she handled the machine gun
with the ease of a professional during a training session at
the shooting range of the Officers Training Academy here.
She is part of a group of 19 women from the Afghanistan
Armed forces honing their skills at the Academy.
Wiping the sweat off her sunburnt face, Afghan Air
Force's Second Lieutenant Nabizada said this is her second
visit to India.
"The first visit was in 2014 to Dehradun to take part
in a Taekwondo match," she said.
India's only academy to impart training to women
cadets and officers, OTA is hosting women officers from the
Afghanistan Armed Forces for the second time, the first being
last year with 20 women.
Afghanistan Army's Liaison Officer Captain Sirajulhaq
Safi told PTI that this time officers from the country's Air
Force have also joined the programme.
"Compared to last year, the team this year comprises
many young officers," Safi said, adding that his country sees
the exercise as a knowledge-sharing experience.
The month-long training that began November 26,
includes weapons training and drill besides others.
Indian Army's Major Ritu Jaswal said the officers were
focused and showed keen interest in what was being taught.
"Each country has a different weapon system... Most of
the time they use MI-16 assault rifles, here they get the
opportunity to learn to use the Indian Small Arms System -
light machine guns," she said.
"However, weather is the major hurdle they face here,
as the present temperature in their country is below 5 degree
December is the time when Chennai experiences cooler
climes, Jaswal, who acted as an interpreter for a majority of
the women officers who knew only Pashto and Dari, added.
Nabizada, a trainee pilot, said it was not just about
weapons, but the session also fostered her leadership skills
and boosted her self-confidence.
She is the only one of her nine other siblings to have
chosen a career in the armed forces.
The squad has mostly women below 30 years, while a
50-year-old officer is the seniormost.
About changes made to the training curriculum since
last year, an officer said the duration has been extended to
four weeks from three weeks last year.
"This has given us more time to teach the officers
about everything that is happening in OTA. They also consider
it as a lifetime experience," the officer said.
According to OTA officials, the officers also visited
various places in the city during the training period which
will end on December 26.
Media personnel were allowed to witness a
training session in which the women officers showcased their
skills in handling light machine guns at the OTA shooting
range, abutting Chennai Airport.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)