Changing role of Women Officers in Indian Defence Forces

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India is advancing forward by crushing the gender discrimination in the armed forces. Last year in June during the passing out parade of Indian Military Academy (IMA) Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat hinted towards the induction of women in combat role in the Indian Army.

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Major Priya Jhingan

Priya Jhingan is the first lady officer of the Indian Army. She was commissioned into the army on 6th March 1993 and after completing 10 years of service she retired as a Major in 2003.

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Lt Gen. Punita Arora

Punita Arora is the first woman in India to reach the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of the Indian Army. She was commissioned in the army in 1968. She became the commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College in 2004. Lt. Gen. Arora also co-ordinated medical research for the armed forces as additional director-general of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). Later, she moved from the Army to the Navy as the AFMS has a common pool that allows officers to migrate from one service to another depending on the requirement. She served as Vice-Admiral in the navy.

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Captain Divya Ajith Kumar leading the contingent

Captain Divya Ajith Kumr is the first woman in the history of Indian Army who received the coveted sword of honour and also got the opportunity to lead the first all-women contingent of the Indian Army on Republic Day in 2015.

As on 1st January 2018, total of 1,548 lady officers (excluding medical, dental and nursing) were serving in the army.

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Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi

Positive change can be witnessed in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Women officers can be seen in a combat role. Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes the first woman IAF officer to fly the fighter jet. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay is the first woman Air Marshal of the IAF. As on 1st Feb 2018 total of 1,598 lady officers were serving in the IAF. This figure excludes lady officers serving in medical, dental and nursing.

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Sub Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop with three other women officers

Sub –Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop becomes the first women pilot of the Indian Navy. Last year in November three other women officers got commissioned into Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) branch. These four women officers script history. As on 1st February total of 493 lady officers were serving in the Indian Navy.

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We also should not forget the fact that our defence minister is also a lady. Nirmala Sitharaman is the first women defence minister of the country.

In addition to women officers in three wings of the armed forces, our central police forces are also moving a step forward. Indo-Tibetian Border Police get its first woman combat officer. Prakriti cleared her UPSC examination for the recruitment of officers in Central Armed polices force and becomes the first women combat officer.

Published by Sumit Sharma

Journalist and passionate for Indian Defence forces.

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