India Marching Forward: President Gives Green Signal To Combat Roles For Women

  • SumoMe

Indian Army

It’s been a rather grim couple of weeks for the average Indian. With the whole hullabaloo over the JNU nationalism debate and the Jat protests; which have managed to grab the headlines and dominate the majority of your social media feed, this is something that could be the much required mood lifter for the country at large.

India will allow women to take up combat roles across all three branches of the military, the country’s President said this week, indicating a path to gender equality in one of the world’s largest armies.

“In the future, my government will induct women in all fighter streams of our armed forces,” President Pranab Mukherjee said in an address to the Indian Parliament.

With a population easily tipping over a billion, it is rather appalling that women only take a minute 2.5% in the Indian Army, that too majorly in medical and administrative roles.

Indian forces opened up to women only in 1992, though they had been appointed to the Military Nursing Service and the Medical Officers Cadre since 1927 and 1943, respectively.

The army has largely resisted a move to induct women into combat, expressing concerns over their ability to handle the high physical strain and vulnerability in case of capture.

In a landmark show of equality in the changing times, an all-women army contingent also marched at India’s landmark Republic Day Parade last month, a first in the country’s history.

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In the recent past, however, things have begun to change over the last few months with the government approving a proposal by the Indian Air Force last October to train female fighter pilots by mid-2017.

India joins the US and a handful of other countries including Israel, Germany and Australia, in permitting women on the front lines.

The concerns might be genuine, as it is scientifically proven that men are physically stronger than women, however, it’s not always a case of physical strength as much as it requires mental strength and determination.

With the right training and right attitude, we feel nothing can come in the way of a woman on a mission to serve her country.

It is indeed a giant step for India in the right direction. It addresses the very pertinent issue in the long standing gender discrimination debate.

This is the way forward; women today have not only proved themselves, but have conquered heights in every single sphere and field of occupation.

Mad respect to the Indian Army for leading by example!

Shireen Azizi

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