Unstoppable, unhinged, and powerful achievements of women in the armed forces are making India proud.
Women have always been one of the most powerful entities on earth. During World War II, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army had a one of its kind women’s regiment called the Rani of Jhansi Regiment. However, women weren’t part of the armed forces for a long time. It was in 1992 when women officers began inducting into the Indian armed forces in non-medical roles for the first time.
It was a historic decision indicating a progressive change in India. The combat roles such as Infantry, Mechanised Infantry, Armoured corps, and Artillery still aren’t inducting women. Over the decades, women are given combat roles as fighter pilots in the Indian air force. Army aviation is also allowing women officers to fly choppers. Gertrude Alice Ram was the first woman in the Indian army to become the major-general and also the first-ever woman to attain a two-star rank.
This promotion registered India’s name as the 3rd country, after the US and France, in the world to promote a woman to flag rank. The first operational paratrooper of India was Ruchi Sharma. Soon, Women will be inducted as sailors in the Indian Navy.
Every step taking forward
Pc: Zee News
In current time, women are serving the Indian army services through Short Service Commission (Technical and Non-Technical), Indian air force in full capacity with time to time terms and conditions, and in the Indian Navy through Short Service Commission in Logistics, Law, Observers, Medical, Dental, Air Traffic Control (ATC), Pilots (Maritime Reconnaissance Stream), Naval Armament Inspectorate (NAI) cadre, Naval Architecture, Education, Sports, and Musician Branch. Grant of Permanent Commission is approved by the government for SSC Officers of NAI Cadre.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted “As of Jan 2019, 3.89 percent of the army personnel comprised women, while 6.7 percent of the navy and 13.28 percent of the air force personnel were women as of June 2019”. Women were able to serve for a term of 5 years earlier with another 5 years extension. It was in 2006 when policy revision was done to allow women candidates a serving time of a maximum of 14 years as SSC officers. Later in 2008, a permanent commission (PC) was granted to eligible SSC women officers by the ministry of defence in branches like Army Education Corps. and Judge Advocate General.
The Army is also planning to grant Permanent Commission to women in other branches like Army Ordnance Corps, intelligence, electronics and mechanical engineers, army air defence, and signals. “In anticipation, the Army Headquarters had set in motion a series of preparatory actions for the conduct of the Permanent Commission Selection Board for affected women officers. The Selection Board will be scheduled as soon as all affected Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers exercise their option and complete requisite documentation,” the Army said in a statement.
Warships and tanks are not allowed zones for women yet. Some countries employ women in the frontline roles including combat duties such as The United States, Israel, North Korea, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.
Registered in nation’s history
25 women were chosen to join the army in 1993. Priya Jhingan was one of them. Alka Khurana became the first woman from the Indian Army to participate in the Republic Day Parade as well as the Army Day Parade in 1994. During the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul by terrorists, Lieutenant Colonel Mitali Madhumita showed exemplary courage and became the first woman officer in India to receive Sena Medal- a gallantry award in 2011. Referred to as India’s Wonder Woman- Seema Rao is the first woman commando trainer.
She has trained two decades of Special Forces in India without compensation. Anjana Bhaduria is a gold medalist commissioned in the 1993 batch of women in the Indian army. Captain Swati Singh, an engineer by education and the only female officer at that time in her 63 Brigade, is the Indian Army’s first female officer to be deployed as Signals in-charge at Nathu La pass. Bhawana Kanth along with Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh Jitarwal became the first 3 women fighter pilots to qualify to undertake combat missions on 22 May 2019.
All three pilots were awarded Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2020. Women also serve in the National Security Guard (NSG), Special Protection Group (SPG), Railway Protection Force (RPF), and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). In 2020, the Supreme Court showed disagreement with the government’s arguments regarding the recruitment of women in combat roles. The court felt it was discriminatory, disturbing, and stereotypical. A strong favor by the court for women officers at command positions at par with male officers.
Permanent commission for all women despite the period of service was to be implemented within 3 months as the court’s ruling in February 2020. Today, many new branches are created to induct women into the army as commissioned officers. At every step, women are crossing new milestones in the armed forces. Bringing glory to the nation, women are now ready to step-up in the frontlines of combat roles.