Srinagar, India, July 23 (efe-epa).- India on Thursday sanctioned granting the permanent commission to women officers in the army, in a move towards gender parity in the traditional male bastion of the Indian armed forces and paving the way for them to serve in command roles.
Earlier, female officers were allowed only short service commission which meant they could serve the military for only 10-14 years. But a permanent commission would enable them to serve the army for longer tenures or until their age of retirement and also serve as army commanders.
A permanent commission would also mean that women officers would be able to avail the same opportunities and benefits as their male counterparts, including ranks, promotions, and pensions.
The defense ministry in a statement said that its order to grant permanent commission to female officers in the Indian Army has paved the way for “empowering women officers to shoulder larger roles in the organization.”
The order specifies that women recruited through short service commission would be eligible for permanent commission in all 10 streams of the Indian Army, including air defense, aviation, ordnance, and intelligence corps.
Earlier, the permanent commission for women was allowed only in the army’s legal and education wings.
The ministry said the military headquarters in New Delhi has set in motion a series of preparatory actions to formally grant permanent commission to willing women officers after they complete requisite documentation.
“The Indian Army is committed to providing equal opportunities to all personnel including women officers to serve the nation,” it said.
The sanction comes months after India’s top court ruled in February that women officers could serve as commanders and ordered the government to extend permanent service to them in all fields except combat roles.
The government had opposed the proposal on the grounds of a rather bizarre notion that women could not be appointed as commanders because most of the Indian soldiers were men from rural backgrounds and were not “mentally schooled to accept women officers in command.”
The government had also argued women officers were physically different and could not be treated at par with their male counterparts.
In a separate ruling in March, the Supreme Court also order the government to grant women officers in the navy permanent commissions and allow them to sail on its warships, dismissing the contention that men were more suited for such duties. EFE-EPA