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Women officers in Indian Army to be inducted into Artillery soon

  • Published
    11th Jan, 2023
Context

The Indian Army has taken the decision to begin the induction of women into combat arms in the near future beginning with the Regiment of Artillery.

  • As per the Ministry of Defence, the combat employment philosophy of women in the Armed Forces is a continuously evolving process and is regularly reviewed by them.

Background:

  • The Indian Air Force pioneered in inducting women into combat roles beginning with three women officers commissioned as Fighter pilots in June 2016.
  • IAF has commissioned 15 women fighter pilots to date.
  • Women officers are now being inducted in all combat roles into the force.

About the arms of Indian forces:
  • The Regiment of Artillery is said to be the second largest arm of the Indian Army, after the infantry.
  • Artillery with its missiles, guns, mortars, rocket launchers and unmanned aerial vehicles is also described as an ‘Arm of Decision’.
  • The decision has been taken to induct women officers in the Artillery — which has about 300 regiments (each with 18 guns) and about 5,000 officers.
  • It is seen as a part of the effort to give women more and more opportunities.

As of now, the women officers have not been granted permanent commissions into Infantry, Armoured, Artillery and Mechanised Infantry.

Recent developments:

  • There are already women officers in the combat support arms like Army Air Defence (AAD), once called Air Defence Artillery, Army Signals Corps, the Army Aviation Corps and the Engineers, all combat support arms.
  • The Indian Navy has already deputed 28 women officers onboard ships. Women officers are also deployed in combat roles on board naval Aircraft/shipborne helicopters.
  • The total number of women serving in the Armed forces is around 10,493 as per the data shared by the Ministry of Defence in March 2022 and this includes those in the Medical, Dental and Nursing Corps.

The Journey of participation of women in India forces:

  • In 1958, the Army Medical Corps (AMC) granted a regular commission to women.
  • In 1991 the Indian Navy commenced the induction of women as officers.
  • In 1992, women were allowed to serve in the armed forces as Short Service Commission (SCC) officers in various supporting branches.
  • In February 2020 Supreme Court gave its verdict for Permanent Commission to women. A total of 577 women officers were granted Permanent Commission till November 2021.
  • The first batch of Women Military Police at the Other Ranks joined Army in May 2021.
  • From July 2021 women officers began training in Army Aviation.
  • In August 2022 first batch of 19 women cadets reported for the tri-service National Defence Academy.
  • In November 2022, 341 women Agniveers of the Indian Navy joined training at INS CHilka.
  • In June 2023 the first six women Army officers will attend Defence Services Staff College.
  • First time 108 women officers are to soon get the rank of Colonel.
  • 100 women Agniveers will join the Army training from April this year.
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