New Delhi: Army, Navy and Air Force leaders will visit the National Defense Academy (NDA) this week to review training and administrative arrangements for the admission of female cadets , the work of which was already launched at the beginning of this year.
Sources in the defense and security establishment said the visit of Army Chief General MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Army Chief of to air, RKS Bhadauria on August 20, had already been scheduled earlier this month, before the Supreme Court issued an interim decision. ordinance allowing women to sit for the academy entrance examination.
They added that the visit by the three chiefs has nothing to do with the court order which was passed on Wednesday.
“The visit was scheduled earlier this month to review the training and administrative arrangements for female cadets. Additional infrastructure to be provided to female cadets was approved earlier and is expected to be in place within a specified time frame. Gender equality has been an issue that has been actively debated and found a positive response in services,” a source told ThePrint.
The discussion on integrating women into the armed forces through the NDA was ongoing and was finding support among the leadership, the source added.
ThePrint reported in June that the NDA was being expanded and that its annual number of cadets would be gradually increased by around 400 to address the lack of officers in the armed forces.
The increase in the number of seats is also intended to meet the increased demand for training foreign officer cadets and Indian Air Force (IAF) ground cadets.
An NDA infrastructure improvement project was also rolled out this year keeping in mind a possible recruitment of female cadets into the institution.
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Women have long been part of the armed forces
The induction of women into the armed forces through the NDA will not be the first such case.
Sources said the armed forces had inducted women as officers into the medical services a very long time ago.
Pune Armed Forces Medical College has been training male and female doctors for years. Military nurses have been in service since long before independence and continue to serve the defense services, the source quoted above said.
Women have also been inducted into the lower ranks of the Military Police Corps recently.
“Female Standing Commission Officers on the Short-Term Service Commission had previously been considered in the JAG and Education branches and recently they have been given similar benefits in some other branches. Female officers have also been inducted for Army Aviation training recently,” the source said.
As of February this year, there were 9,118 female officers serving in the three services.
Female officers have been inducted into the military since 1993. At first, they were recruited for five years of service under the “Special Entry Scheme”. This was later converted to the Short Service Commission (SSC).
In 2008, a permanent commission was extended to women in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps streams.
In 2019, the Narendra Modi government granted a permanent commission for women in the ten branches which allowed female officers to go through the Short Service Commission.
These were Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defense, Electronic and Mechanical Engineers, Army Services Corps, Army Ordnance Corps army and intelligence.
However, the rule applied to current and future SSC officers and was not retroactive.
Following a Supreme Court order, a total of 147 additional female Army SSC officers were granted permanent commissions. But combat roles for women in the military have yet to be opened up for a wide range of reasons.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)
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