New Delhi, Jan 17 Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday became the second woman politician to fly in a Su-30 fighter jet. Here is a list of political leaders who earlier flew in the Sukhoi 30 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam — When then President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam flew in a Su-30 in June 2003, he became the first head of state in India to fly in a fighter aircraft. Kalam, who was an eminent scientist, had flown the plane along with his co-pilot, and later said he became a scientist only because he could not become a pilot. He was 74 years old at the time.
George Fernandes — In June 2003, then Defence Minister George Fernandes put on the flying suit and took off in a Su-30 fighter jet from Lohegaon Air Force Station near Pune. He was 73 years old at the time.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil — Then President Pratibha Patil flew in a Su-30 in November 2009 from the Indian Air Force Base in Lohegaon.
Rao Inderjit Singh — Then Minister of State for Defence, Rao Inderjit Singh flew in a Su-30 from Hindon air base, near Delhi, in August 2015.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy — The BJP leader, who is a trained pilot, flew a Su-30 in February 2015 at the Aero India show in Bengaluru.
Kiren Rijiju — The Minister of State for Home flew in a Su-30 from Halwara airbase in Punjab in May 2016.