It is high time such progressive decisions are taken; after all, India has historically seen the likes of Rani Lakshmi Bai
Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has announced that the Indian Army will be opening up combat positions for women, a gender barrier that has been broken by only a few countries around the world. Gen. Rawat said the process to allow women in combat roles, currently restricted to men, is ongoing and initially women will be recruited for positions in military police.
“I am looking at women coming as jawans. I am going to start it soon. Firstly, we will start with women as military police jawans,” Gen. Rawat said. Currently, women are being recruited into select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army. Combat roles have so far been kept off limit for them due to operational concerns and logistical issues.
The army chief said he was ready to recruit women as jawans and the matter is being taken up with the government. “We have already started the process,” Gen Rawat told PTI.
He exhorted women to show grit and strength in taking up challenges in combat roles and contribute to shattering the glass ceiling.
India will be joining the league of countries like Germany, Australia, Canada, the US, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Israel that have allowed women in combat roles.
The roles of military police include policing the cantonments and army establishments, prevent breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, handling prisoners of war and extending aid to civil police whenever required.
Last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had created history by inducting three women as fighter pilots, soon after the government decided to open the fighter stream to women on an experimental basis. A decision on recruiting more women as fighter pilots will be taken after evaluating performance of Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who are now part of IAF’s fighter squadron.
The Indian Navy is said to be deliberating on a policy for deploying women on ships. The Navy allows women in other segments like legal, logistics, naval architecture and engineering departments.