Fact Check: This IAF woman pilot was not a part of Balakot air strike

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Following the Air Strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan’s Balakot in which one terrorist camp was destroyed, A picture is making rounds on social media. It is a picture of a woman Air Force pilot and the claim is that she piloted one of the Mirage 2000 fighter jet used in the Balakot operation.
The text on the picture read: “The Pilot Of Today’s Surgical Air Strike Is A Girl”
“This Is The Best Example of “Women Empowerment”
Salute For This Brave Lady”

ALSO READ: No! Delhi’s leading school did not release security advisory post strikes

The above picture was posted by a Facebook page Dear Crush a few hours after the government confirmed the news of Anti- Terror preemptive strike. The page is followed by over 7 million users.
At the time of filing this the report, the picture had got over 33,000 likes and it was shared by over 10,000 Facebook users.
Several other users shared the same claim on Facebook.

FACT CHECK

When NewsMobile came across this post, we fact-checked the claims using Google Reverse Image search. It is true that the woman in the above picture is an Air Force Pilot. Her name is Sneha Shekhawat.
Squadron Leader Sneha Shekhawat managed to get into headlines when she became the first woman in the history to lead the IAF contingent at the Republic Day parade in 2015.
Meanwhile, Avani Chaturvedi was the first woman to be inducted in IAF’s fighter squadron.  She flew a MiG-21 fighter solo in 2018 and as per Indian Air Force, it takes at least one-year training on fighter airplane for a pilot to be ready for combat missions.
Hence, Sneha Shekhawat was not part of the Balakot air strike as she is a pilot of Avro Aircraft. Moreover, the Air Force or the government has not yet released the names of the pilots who were part of the operation as a precautionary measure.

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