Please tell us about yourself

Sub Lieutenant Roopa Alagirisamy, a native of Puducherry, is among three women officers who have been inducted into the Naval Armament Inspectorate for the first time in the history of Indian Navy. The 25-year-old aeronautical engineering graduate from Jeppiaar Engineering College in Chennai has also been selected for the prestigious Republic Day Parade to be held in January next year.

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As a Naval Armament Inspection Officer, Ms. Roopa would be inspecting the weaponry, missiles and torpedoes used in the Navy’s ships and submarines and check them for their quality and certify them. This is the first time the Navy has inducted women into the Naval Armament Inspectorate, which was hitherto considered an all-men branch of the Navy.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

“I was always fascinated by technology and that is why I chose aeronautical engineering for my graduation. Since my college days, I aspired to join the armed forces,” says Ms. Roopa. After her schooling at St. Mary’s Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Cuddalore, her family moved to Chennai where she joined the naval wing of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) in her college.

Her NCC training took her to various naval bases in the country that helped her understand the force even better. “We learnt how engineering formed an integral part of the Navy.”

Tell us about the challenges you faced

Her joining the Navy was no easy task, however. She remained relentless even after five unsuccessful attempts to join the Navy. “It was my sixth and last attempt and I was so determined to make it.” She had to manage her preparation along with work as Research Associate at the National Aeronautical Laboratories in Bengaluru for a year and a half.

The six-month Naval Orientation Course in the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala in Kerala has brought the best in her. She is among the few women officers selected for the Republic Day parade. If all goes well, she would be smartly marching down the prestigious Rajpath in Delhi in January next year and saluting the President and other dignitaries.

Ms. Roopa was among the 328 officers who were commissioned into the Navy and Coast Guard after completing their training at the INA on Wednesday. She has been commissioned as a Short Service Officer.