Globetrotting all-woman Tarini crew up for gallantry award
The women received a rousing welcome on their return to Goa on May 21 after completing an eight-month-long voyage in which Tarini covered more than 21,600 nautical miles.Updated: Jul 12, 2018 09:17 IST
The all-woman crew of Indian Navy’s sailing vessel Tarini, which created history by circumnavigating the globe in a gruelling 254-day voyage, is likely to be recognised with a gallantry award on Independence Day, two people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
That will be an achievement in itself too, because women rarely win gallantry awards in the armed forces because of their limited deployment.
The names of Tarini skipper lieutenant commander Vartika Joshi and other crew members, commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta have been recommended for the award, said one of persons cited in the first instance.
The women received a rousing welcome on their return to Goa on May 21 after completing an eight-month-long voyage in which Tarini covered more than 21,600 nautical miles.
The Navika Sagar Parikrama team was flagged off from Goa on September 10, 2017.
The women are likely to be awarded the Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) for their achievement after the proposal is approved by the President.
“The women showed tremendous courage and determination while facing formidable obstacles on the high seas. Finishing the voyage was no mean feat,” the first person said.
A voyage qualifies as circumnavigation if it starts and finishes at the same port, does not go through a canal or strait, crosses all meridians at least once, and covers at least 21,600 nautical miles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba monitored the voyage closely. Tarini made only five halts: at Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius).
“This is great news as it’s rare for women to get gallantry awards in the armed forces, given that they are employed in limited roles. The Tarini girls have proved that if women are given opportunities, they can achieve anything,” said Major Shraddha Mishra, who retired from the army in 2005 after serving for seven years.
Several officers HT spoke to could only recall the name of lieutenant colonel Mitali Madhumita, who became India’s first female army officer to win a gallantry award for saving at least 19 lives during the February 2010 terrorist attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.
She was awarded a Sena Medal for gallantry. The air force is the only one of India’s three defence arms to allow women in front-line combat positions. Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi, who undertook a historic solo sortie in a MiG-21 Bison on February 19, 2018, is likely to become India’s first “fully operational” fighter pilot next year.
First Published: Jul 12, 2018 07:15 IST