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No women in combat please, we are the army.

THE ARMY has stressed that women cannot be granted permanent commission in the force because the bulk of the army's junior commissioned officers ( JCOs) and other ranks hail from rural India who are not yet ready to accept a woman as their leader in combat situations.

" The interface between the leader and the led must be without any reserve or preconceived notions especially in battle conditions where jawans repose full faith in decisions/ orders of the leader who is their role model and are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty," the Army Headquarters said in an affidavit dated September 12 before the Supreme Court.

" The combat role of woman officers must be excluded not only for the present but as a matter of policy for all times," the affidavit said.

Ruling out any change in its policy of not granting permanent commission to women at present or in the future, the JCO, who filed the affidavit on behalf of the army, went a step further to stress that the experience with Short Service Commission ( SSC) woman officers so far has not been encouraging.

The affidavit said the response of woman officers when detailed on various courses which are crucial for career progression " is far from encouraging". " In most cases, woman officers have declined to go on courses of instructions due to various reasons ranging from family commitment to personal problems," it added. The army said the prolonged absence of woman officers from a unit due to inherent family- related issues was also highly detrimental " to the overall efficiency of the unit" as a cohesive fighting force.

The army also seemed to be unhappy with woman officers requesting for choice/ spouse postings. " There is an ever growing demand for spouse/ choice postings which is adversely impacting the management of officers to the detriment of male officers," the affidavit pointed out.

The affidavit pointed out that the armed forces are maintained as an instrument of national policy and has to be organised and equipped for combat and war- fighting.

" War has no runners- up, hence the need for an efficient war machine that will ensure victory," it said. Restrictions on manpower in the army necessitated multitasking, it said, adding that " every individual counts and has to measure up to combat challenges as and when time comes". The basic role of the army is to fight the enemy and guard the territorial integrity of the nation, the affidavit said. Woman officers cannot be employed in combat in the foreseeable future because of the attendant hazard and trauma including the possibility of being made a prisoner of war, it added.

At present, women are inducted as SSC officers in various combat support wings but the government and the army has been unwilling to grant permanent commission.

Maj Gen ( retd) G. D. Bakshi backed the army's stand. " In theory, women in the army may sound good but in practical terms the arrangement has not worked well in the Indian Army and as a concept also our society is not prepared to accept women in combat role and this is the reason for women being taken only in combat support role. It will take some more time before they become acceptable, especially for our jawans who come from rural backgrounds. These are the practical problems in the army unlike air force and navy, where the working environment is totally different," he said.

Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh rubbished the idea. " Women should be encouraged to apply and join the armed forces. It is nature's rule that only women have the privilege to become mothers and deliver babies. If they get pregnant, they will obviously take maternity leave. It is ridiculous to consider women unfit for the army," she said.

Army said the prolonged absence of woman officers due to inherent familyrelated issues was highly detrimental to the overall efficiency of the unit



Induction of women commences in form of women special entry scheme in army service, ordnance and education corps and Judge Adjutant General ( JAG) branch as short service commission ( SSC) officers for 5 years


Tenure of SSC woman officers is extended by 5 more years. More branches included


The tenure of SSC woman officers is extended by another 4 years -- taking it to 14 years


Permanent commission in JAG and education corps opened for SSC woman officers

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 17, 2012
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