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India’s first woman Air Marshal Dr Padma Bandopadhyay conferred with Padma Shri

President Ram Nath Kovind On Monday, awarded 119 people with Padma Shri Awards, India’s highest civilian honour. Air Marshal Dr Padma Bandopadhyay (Retd.) received the Padma Shri award for her contributions to medicine.

Bandopadhyay is a renowned former Indian Air Force flight surgeon. After surgeon Vice Admiral Punita Arora, she was the first woman in the Indian Armed Forces to be advanced to the rank of Air Marshal and the second woman in the Indian Armed Forces to be promoted to a three-star position. She is now a citizen who continues to assist others.

After studying pre-medical at the University of Delhi’s Kirori Mal College, she attended the Armed Forces Medical College Pune in 1963. Bandopadhyay joined the Indian Air Force in 1968 after finishing her higher education. She was the first Indian woman to undertake scientific study in the North Pole and the first woman to earn a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India. Not only that, but she was the first female officer in the Armed Forces to finish the Defence Service Staff College course in 1978.

Bandopadhyay is now an expert in aviation medicine and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. She received the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM0) in 1973 for her actions during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. In the same investiture procession, Padma and Sati Nath became the first IAF couple to receive a President’s award. She was awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal in 2002 and the Param Vishist Seva Medal in 2006.

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Returning to the Padma Awards, they are one of India’s highest civilian honours, bestowed annually on the night of Republic Day. Padma Vibhushan (for extraordinary and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (for distinguished service of higher level), and Padma Shri (distinguished service) are the three categories of awards. The award is intended to recognise accomplishments in all professions or disciplines where public service is a factor.


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