Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is okay with the idea of having an all-women battalion in the Army following the induction of three female fighter pilots into the IAF after they broke the prevailing “psychological barriers.”
Reiterating the government’s commitment to break the gender barrier in the armed forces, he called for stationing of women on warships besides opening the doors of the National Defence Academy and Sainik schools for them.
He, however, made it clear that the action will be gradual and without compromising the main task of armed forces which is national security.
The defence minister said that even though India is a country of Jhansi ki Rani and Durga, women have been made to stay away due to various reasons.
Recently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) recruited its first female fighter pilots, paving the way for more women to be given combat roles. Flying Officers Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi were recently commissioned into the IAF at a graduation ceremony in Hyderabad.
According to Parrikar, the govenrment’s long-term objective is to work towards gender parity in the armed forces.
At the moment, a very small number of women (60,000) constitute the 13-lakh strong armed forces. There are just 1,436 women officers in Army, 1,331 in IAF and 532 in Navy.