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.
  3. ezsasa

    ezsasa Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2014
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    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
    No frontier role for women till society changes: General Bipin Rawat

    NEW DELHI: In what would rule out the induction of women soldiers for frontline combat duty in the near future, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that unless there is a change of mindset in society, both genders would not be able to work together in forward areas.

    General Rawat, who took over as the Army Chief on December 31, said that a call on the role of women in frontline combat can only be taken if they ‘share equal responsibility like their male counterparts’, questioning whether they would be comfortable ‘sleeping under a tank’ with their colleagues.

    “A tank has a crew of three people. What do they do when they roll out or are in combat, they just sleep under the tank. They cook and sleep under the tank, there is no toilet facility or separate accommodation.

    So, if it is one woman or two women and a male, if they are all willing to sleep under the tank and if the women folk are willing to accept it? (sic),” the Army Chief said.

    General Rawat said that it is a misnomer that there is no combat role for women, pointing out that officers have been inducted in arms like army air defence and the Corps of Signals. However, he gave several examples to make his point on the ‘difficulties’ on the frontier, asking if women are “willing to move out” in harsh environments.

    “In Arunachal, the longest patrol that goes to the border is a 35 day patrol. At night, when you halt, all that happens in a blue sheet is pulled out and everybody sleeps under it together, there is no toilet. If women are willing to move out in that environment, the women folk themselves need to take a call,” General Rawat said in response to queries at the annual Army Press Conference ahead of Army Day.

    The Army Chief is of the view that women have to take a call on whether they can serve on the frontline. “We have to look at our society and see, once the women are willing to take this kind of call, we will address this issue,” he said.

    The Army Chiefs comments come after a major shift by the air force in 2015 on the role of women on combat duty. The Air force allowed woman pilots to fly fighter jets after government permissions starting 2015, with the first set of pilots likely to take to jets by the mid of this year.

    The Navy too has initiated discussions on opening up more roles for women officers.

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