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Induction of women in Indian Army

Induction of women in Indian Army

The induction of women in Indian Army began back in 1888 when the "Indian military nursing service" came into being during British rule. Their role soon expanded becoming very extensive with the onset of World War 1 and 2 in which about 350 British Indian Army nurses either died or were taken as prisoners of war or missing in action. The services of Noor Inayat Khan and Kalyani Sen is very exemplary and are much lauded in this context. Further the formation of “Rani Jhansi” regiment by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is also seen as an empowering example.

On 1 November 1958, the Army Medical Corps turned out to be the first unit of the Indian Army to grant regular commission to women. Until now women were inducted only for Short Service Commission, thus making it a big step ahead. As of 2020, women are not yet allowed as combatant in the Parachute Regiment of Indian Army or other special forces. They are also not admitted to service in combat units such as Infantry, Mechanised infantry, Armoured corps and Artillery. However, they can join paratroopers wings of their respective arms like para EME, para signals, para ASC, etc.

On 17 February 2020, the Supreme Court of India pronounced that women officers in Indian Army can get command positions at par with their male counterparts. The court also stated that the government's debate against it were “Discriminatory, Disturbing and based on Stereotype.” Much contrarily in the Indian Air Force women are in force in all roles including combat and support. As of September 2020 there were 1,875 female officer serving in the IAF including 10 pilots and 18 navigators. Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami was the first ever woman officer to be given permanent commission in the Indian Air Force and Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal became the first woman to receive a Yudh Seva Medal.

In October 1976, Dr. Barbara Ghosh became the first woman officer in the Indian Navy to attain the rank of commander. Dr. Punita Arora, commissioned in 1968, is the first woman in the India Navy to reach the second highest rank as the Lieutenant General, and the first female Vice admiral. Despite the persuading examples set forth by these women, the Indian Navy is still against the idea of putting women in warship as sailor, eventhough they fly on maritime patrol aircraft like P8I and IL 38.

The honorable Supreme Court with its verdicts on cases like Lt. Col. Nitisha vs. Union of India and Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya (2020) (Court had directed the Army to enlist all serving female officers for the grant of permanent commissions )had made clear roadmap for future onset of relaxation and extensive role of women in armed forces. This therefore calls for a critical insight into the mindset of the defence forces towards their female officers. Because we as women, have a long battle to fight. As we move one step at a time towards making the armed forces an inclusive space for women candidates, it’s important for girls to instil in themselves the spirit and motivation for the same. Girls should labour on their traits in order to develop their personalities that will be fit for the army. It’s a common and wide perspective that women are the weaker sex. In order to break this stereotype girls will have to come forward and set examples that would help tackle this prejudice. Be it a boy or a girl the only thing necessary is talent and hard work. There is nothing a girl cannot achieve that a boy can. And we at Col. Roy Academy, endeavour to train our students, girls and boys alike to become the perfect candidate for the forces.

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