Is the Indian Army Really Open to Women?

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by bhramos, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

    Mar 21, 2009
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    At first glance, it seems that the Indian Army is making progress in recognizing the contribution of women in its ranks. For the first time ever, on its 65th Independence Day, India honored a female soldier with a gallantry award for her role during the 2010 attack against the Indian embassy in Kabul. And last week, Shanti Tigga became the first woman to qualify as a combatant in the Indian army after doing exceptionally well in her physical tests.

    But the chances Ms. Tigga will actually be involved in combat any time soon are actually pretty slim. For now, she will mainly be involved in support duties, an army official told India Real Time. She joined a regiment of the Territorial Army, which recruits volunteers with the aim of helping the Regular Army. TA volunteers are rarely involved in combat duties.

    Still, recognizing Ms. Tigga could one day fulfill a combat role is a huge step for the Indian Army, where women have never even been recruited in combat positions and where, in most roles, they are forced to retire early. “Tigga was one of the few to volunteer and the first to pass the physical tests alongside men, without any dilution of standards,” the army official said.

    Still, the Indian Army is far from welcoming to women. Although women were first allowed to join the Regular Army in 1992, they are still not allowed to join combat units, unlike in countries like Israel and the United States. Instead, they are only recruited in medical, engineering and other support units. When asked about the reason for the Indian Army’s reluctance to allow women in combat, a retired senior army officer said that women tend to be less independent and less willing to accept postings away from home. He said they are also reluctant to go on night missions. As a result, the retired officer said that “the work atmosphere becomes sour as the younger male officers have to bear the brunt of the inability of the women officers to do their duties sometimes.”

    But the biggest problem for women officers is forced retirement. With the exception of women recruited in the medical corps, they are forced to retire after 14 years in office. Unlike their male counterparts, they are not entitled to pensions nor ex-army personnel status and the benefits this comes with, since officers are eligible for pensions only after 18 years of service. Women officers have been battling against this for years. The issue was brought before the Supreme Court, which last month ordered the army to reinstate 11 women who had been forced to retire. Meenakshi Lekhi, the lawyer who represented the women in court, said that for now the ruling only applies to the 11 women who filed the petition. Ms. Lekhi hopes this will eventually apply to all women in the army. “The court has shown a stern face to the army’s policy of forced early retirements for the women,” she said. “There are indications that they will make things right.”

    “ If the army has started recruiting women, then it can’t be done half-heartedly. Sex discrimination needs to go, ” said an exasperated Ms. Lekhi. A spokesman for the Indian army said he was not able to immediately comment on the case.

    The early retirement age also means women are limited in terms of the ranks they can attain. “Why can’t women be promoted as commanding officers in units where they have technical jobs, which are not remotely related to combat?” Ms. Lekhi said. While the Indian Army is still stuck in its patriarchal structures, Pakistan is reportedly getting ready for its first female three-star general, Shahida Badshah.

    Is the Indian Army Really Open to Women? - India Real Time - WSJ
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Women can go into combat.

    I would say they would be as good as men.

    However, if they are mutilated and raped having become PsW I wonder how the Indian citizenry react?

    Compare the same happening to men and then to women.

    Capt. Saurabh Kalia long with five other soldiers Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhikaram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh of Four Jat Regiment who were abducted by Pakistan army in May 1999 and tortured mercilessly for three weeks before being killed.

    The nation was outraged and nothing has happened beyond that.

    Imagine if it were done to women!

    US has women soldiers. How are they treated? How many sexual harassment are reported and how many are not? Google and check the reactions.

    It will only add to the administrative burden to an already over burdened Army.

    Remember the case of that woman officer of the ASC who refused to go on Temporary Duty and was given extra good treatment by being given married accommodation even though single because she wanted her mother to be with her?

    Why should a married officer, who is waiting in the queue for married accommodation, be deprived because of unreasonable demands not supported by rules get married accommodation?

    It will cause more heartburns and chaos for the commanding officer and also the Station Commander.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
    nitesh and Agnostic_Indian like this.
  4. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Sep 28, 2011
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    North Carolina, USA
    Not just how they are treated, it is also how they behave. I have seen too many female US soldiers, for example, fail to learn a weapon dis-assembly and re-assembly task because they don't want to break a fingernail. Or pout during training in the field because they don't want to dig a fighting position. They will sit there looking pitiable until a male soldier comes along and digs it for them. That's the army.

    In the navy, most female sailors going to sea get pregnant. Now Obama wants to let them serve on submarines.

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