Indian armed forces to allow women in combat roles

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by LETHALFORCE, Feb 25, 2016.


    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
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    India is to allow women to take up combat roles in all sections of its armed forces, the president, Pranab Mukherjee, has said, signalling a radical move towards gender parity in one of the world’s most male-dominated professions.

    Most countries employ women in various roles in their military but only a few, including New Zealand, Germany, Israel and the US, have allowed them to take on combat roles.

    India, which has one of the largest armies in the world, has until recently resisted following suit, citing concern over women’s vulnerability if captured and over their physical and mental ability to cope with the stress of frontline deployments.

    Addressing both houses of parliament on the eve of the budget session, the president – who is also supreme commander of the armed forces – said the government would in future recruit women for combat roles across the military.

    “My government has approved the induction of women as short-service commission officers and as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force. In the future, my government will induct women in all the fighter streams of our armed forces,” Mukherjee said on Tuesday.

    “In our country ’shakti’, which means power, is the manifestation of female energy. This shakti defines our strength,” he added.

    India began recruiting women to non-medical positions in the armed forces in 1992, yet only 2.5% of its military’s million-plus personnel are women – most of them administrators, intelligence officers, doctors, nurses or dentists.

    In October, the government took the first steps towards bringing women into fighting roles and approved air force plans for female pilots to fly warplanes from June 2017 on a three-year experimental basis.

    Women’s rights activists welcomed the president’s remarks but said that bringing real gender parity into the armed forces would be a slow process.

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