Lady officers being asked if they want permanent commissioning: Army chief

General MM Naravane says Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file

General MM Naravane
Gen Naravane said the recent infiltration attempts by Pakistan showed it is not interested in battling the pandemic | PTI File

Army chief General MM Naravane on Thursday (February 20) said letters are being sent to women officers asking whether they will prefer permanent commissioning in the force. His statement comes after the Supreme Court on Monday directed that women Army officers be granted permanent commission and command postings.

The Army chief said the force has been championing gender equality and the Supreme Court order granting permanent commission to women officers will give it a lot of clarity moving forward. He termed the Supreme Court verdict as enabling and asserted the Indian Army does not believe in any kind of discrimination.

“Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting women officers as early as in 1993,” said General Naravane while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

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Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Centre and School, he said. The Army chief also said letters are being sent to women officers asking whether they will prefer permanent commissioning.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a welcome one as it brings out a sense of clarity and purpose to gainfully employ officers for better efficiency of the organisation. I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including women officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the nation as also progress in their careers,” he said hailing the verdict as enabling.

Speaking on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, General Naravane said terror incidents have seen a downturn and the Army is maintaining pressure on terror groups. There is an external dimension to the decrease in cross-border terrorism, he said, in oblique reference to the ongoing Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary.

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Pakistan may have to rethink strategy as even China realised they cannot back their all-weather friend all the time, the Army chief said on the FATF plenary. A sub-group of the global terror financing watchdog FATF on Tuesday recommended continuation of Pakistan in the ‘Grey List’ for its failure to check terror funding.

When asked on the health condition of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the army chief only said security forces are geared up to take care of any situation. On the proposed creation of a theatre command exclusively for Jammu and Kashmir, he said there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalised.

(With inputs from agencies)

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