J&K: Following in father’s footsteps, daughter of BSF head constable all set to don IAF uniform

Udhampur (J&K), Jun 20 (PTI) Inspired by her father, a head constable in the Border Security Force, 23-year-old Akriti Sharma from this hilly district of Jammu and Kashmir is all set to join Indian Air Force as a flying officer next month.

Sharma hails from the nondescript village of Magani and the road that leads to it goes through one of the units of Udhampur-based northern command of the army. She credited her success in cracking the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) to her parents and the National Credit Corps (NCC).

“Soon, I am going to join the IAF Hyderabad Academy as an under-trainee flying officer. After the successful completion of my training, I will be commissioned as a flying officer in the IAF,” Sharma, who is ready to give wings to her dreams, told PTI at her residence.

Sharma did her schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya and graduated from the Government College for Women in Udhampur.

“While in college, I became a part of the NCC and attended a number of camps which played an important role in my life and helped me crack the AFCAT,” she said.

As part of the NCC, she took part in the Republic Day Parade and also represented the country in Vietnam under a youth exchange programme, Sharma said.

“All credit goes to my parents and friends. My parents always stood by me and provided all the support I needed. My father is in BSF, presently serving in Assam, who always motivated me to set a goal and focus on achieving it,” she said.

Sharma said she had also cleared the Navy Service Selection Board interview but decided to join the IAF.

Highlighting that several places in Udhampur are underdeveloped and the children do not get adequate facilities, Sharma said the youngsters “need to come out and try to achieve their goals without looking back”.

Akriti Sharma’s mother Neeru Sharma said she was always interested in joining the force and following in the footsteps of her father.

“We always supported her and I am happy that she has achieved her goal,” she said, urging all parents to support their children irrespective of whether it’s a boy or a girl.

The villagers too are ecstatic and proud of her success and feel that she is a true inspiration for youngsters, especially the girls.

Local sarpanch Prithpal Singh said her selection is not only a proud moment for the village but for the entire Jammu and Kashmir.

“She prepared for the exam in a village where we are facing frequent power cuts. She is a true inspiration for the younger generation,” he said.

Singh said Sharma’s success shows that if there is dedication and hard work, someone from a village with basic amenities can compete with his or her counterpart from big cities with better facilities.