A day after Nirmala Sitharaman took over as the country’s first full-time female defence minister, the army on Friday announced that it is giving finishing touches to a proposal for inducting women into the military police.
The proposal is very significant as women will be inducted in the military’s non-officer cadre for the first time, although they will be in a non-combat role.
In a presentation made at the army chiefs’ conclave, adjutant general Lieutenant General Ashwani Kumar said, “The proposal is being finalised for induction of 800 women in the military police with a yearly intake of 52.”
The three-day conclave, hosted by army chief General Bipin Rawat, is being attended by eight former army chiefs. The platform provides an opportunity to the force to draw on the collective experience of its former leaders and seek their inputs on key issues.
The force expects the plan to move fast under Sitharaman. The proposal is being pushed by General Rawat himself.
Lieutenant General Kumar said women were required in the Corps of Military Police (CMP) to investigate gender-specific allegations and crime. The women will be inducted as junior commissioned officers and jawans. The armed forces account for around 3,500 women officers, all of whom are in non-combat roles.
Women were allowed to join the military as officers outside the medical stream for the first time in 1992.
The move to induct women in the CMP comes at a time when India’s first female pilots are preparing to fly warplanes after they complete the last leg of their training later this month.
The IAF had to crush internal resistance to grant women equal opportunity in the service.
In the navy, women are still not permitted to serve in submarines and warships, while the army bars them from front-line ground combat positions and tank units.
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