New Delhi: The Indian Army on Thursday issued an advertisement to induct women as soldiers on general duty.
The ad which appeared in all major dailies is being seen as a historic moment, as it would open more avenues for women in the armed forces, including taking up combat roles.
In January this year, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the historic move to induct women as jawans in the corps of military police in the Indian army, thus capping years of demand to recruit women in the armed forces below the officers rank.
The responsibility of those appointed below officer ranks includes investigation of offences such as rape, molestation and theft, military operations where the Army needs police assistance and assistance in the evacuation of villages during cross-border hostilities.
They are also responsible for crowd control of refugees comprising women and children, frisking of women during cordon-and-search operations (mostly in Jammu and Kashmir) and ceremonial as well as policing duties.
Besides this, PBOR personnel also run prisoner-of-war camps in conflict situations.
According to Army Chief Bipin Rawat, engaging women in combat role will take some more time.
“It’s because appropriate facilities have to be created for them,” he said, adding that a comparison with armies of Western countries cannot be made because they are “more open”.
“Till now, women were being recruited in the Indian Army in officer ranks. The Army first inducted women in 1994. After that, more than two decades have passed and there was no further entry at any other level. This is the first time women are joining as jawans,” lawyer and military expert Navdeep Singh told The Quint.