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Govt aims for synchronised position among 3 services on induction of women

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NEW DELHI (PTI):  Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the government was working with the Army, Navy and Air Force to have a "synchronised position" on the recruitment of women into the three services as there was no common ground on the matter at present.

In an address at an event on Monday, she also said that the government was open to women recruited under short service commissioning being offered permanent commissioning.

Sitharaman said there was no parity at present between the armed forces in recruitment rules related to women.

She said, while women were already engaged as fighter pilots in the Air Force, considered an absolutely top notch position, in the Army, women were still missing from important positions.

In the gender neutral Navy as well, women cannot go to the sea, she said, highlighting the lack of parity in the three services.

"Each of these services has taken their own approach towards getting women a limited option of getting into their force and as a result there is no parity within the three services either.

"There are different approaches which are prevailing. I am spending quite sometime with all the three forces to make sure that we take a synchronised position and also approach the court to handle all these cases which are already there about short service (commission) women being offered permanent commission," she said at a FICCI event..

The minister asserted that, "we are very open-minded about having women come in to the services" as more and more women are seeking to join the forces.

However, she also noted that verdicts were awaited as several of those who were in short service commission had gone to courts asking why they could not be given the permanent commission.

In September last year, the Army had announced that it was inducting women in the military police, seen as a major move towards inducting them for combat roles.

The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war.

Creating history, the Indian Air Force in 2016 inducted three women as fighter pilots.

Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had in December last year said that the Navy was going to allow woman officers on board its warships and suitable facilities for them were being made available in the newly-constructed ships.

At present, the Navy allows women in eight branches including legal, logistics, naval architecture and engineering departments.

Responding to a query, Sitharaman said women can also contribute to the armed forces as entrepreneurs and better equip the forces by getting involved in defence production, offering logistical support etc.

The event was organised to celebrate Sitharaman's journey as India's first full time woman defence minister.

Sitharaman said a school she had set up in Hyderabad gave her inspiration and a new meaning to her life. The minister said her family, with most of them supporting the Congress, never stopped her from joining the BJP.

She also recalled the moment when she got a call by the then BJP president Rajnath Singh to join the national executive of the party, marking her foray into the BJP and also politics.

Sitharaman had taken charge of the defence ministry in September last year, becoming the first full-time woman Defence Minister of the country.

Tags:

India  Women  Army  Navy  Air Force  Sitharaman  Military  
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