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All armed forces’ branches to be open for women: Rajnath Singh

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that all branches of the armed forces would soon be opened for women officers as resistance to the idea was on the wane.

Updated: Mar 09, 2020 04:12 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (PTI photo)

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that all branches of the armed forces would soon be opened for women officers as resistance to the idea was on the wane.

“We believe that no branch of the armed forces should remain closed for women officers. I know that there is some degree of resistance against the commission of women in all branches of the services but this resistance is lessening,” the minister said. Singh was addressing the ‘Women Transforming India Awards’ organised by the Niti Aayog here. “Women today are working in all branches of the Indian Air Force [IAF], eight branches of the Army and all non-seagoing branches of the Indian Navy. I want to assure you that rest of the branches would be opened soon,” the minister said.

Singh said enhancing women’s participation in the armed forces their role is a priority for the government.

It was, however, not immediately clear if by opening up all branches for women the minister meant allowing women officers to take up combat roles in the army. Women officers are currently barred from combat roles.



Women’s role in the military has come under spotlight after the SC last month ruled that women officers entering the Indian Army through the short service commission are entitled to permanent commission and they have to be considered irrespective of their service length.

There are more than 3,500 women in the military but front-line combat roles were off limits to them until the government approved an IAF in 2015 to induct them into the fighter stream. Warships, tanks and combat positions in the infantry are still no-go zones for women. The Navy has women as pilots and observers on board its maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

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