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Women in command roles

Content By Prashant Sir WDA

Women in command roles: For the first time, women officers will be able to command troops in the Indian Army, and they will be assessed for their leadership skills. What is the significance of this remarkable move- both for women officers and the Army? What is the situation in the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force?

AS MANY as 108 women officers in the Army are set to be cleared for the rank of Colonel (Selection grade) by January 22 by a special selection board, which will make them eligible to command units and troops in their respective arms and services for the first time.

A total of 244 women officers are being considered for promotion against the vacancies from the batch of 1992 to 2006-in arms and services, including Engineers, Signals, Army Air Defence, Intelligence Corps, and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers,

Until Thursday evening, 80 women officers had been cleared for the rank of colonel from Lieutenant Colonel by the Special No. 3 Selection Board whose proceedings began on January 9.

Unlike other promotion boards, this one is held every day for a particular batch starting with the 1992 batch, and the results are being declared on the same day.

Every officer gets three chances for promotion and thus the reviews, too, are being held within three days of the declaration of the result.

Why is this development significant?

Most importantly, it grants women officers parity with their male counterparts. Earlier, with a limited period career in the force, there were no promotion avenues for women officers to become a colonel and command a unit like male officers of the Indian Army. #Women in command roles

It is not that women officers did not reach the rank of Colonel or beyond in the past, but they were only in two branches-the judge Advocate General (JAG) branch and the Army Education Corps-where they were granted permanent commission in 2008. #Women in command roles

However, these were staff appointments which are more administrative in nature and not purely command appointments in which an officer commands troops on ground.

The Supreme Court’s order to grant permanent commission to women Army officers in February 2020 opened the doors for promotion to women officers across all streams of the Army, except in the pure combat arm. With a longer career in the Army, women officers could be considered for promotions, including to the rank of Colonel and beyond. #NDA Coaching in Lucknow

Women were inducted into the Army as early as 1992. So why did their Colonel promotions come so late?

An officer in the Army is promoted to the rank of Colonel only after serving between 16 and 18 years, based on certain criteria such as annual confidential reports and various courses.

Women officers who were inducted into the Army were inducted as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers in 1992 and in the years afterward did not have the choice to opt for permanent commission. JAG and Army Education Corps were exceptions, as a permanent commission was opened for them in 2008. #Women in command roles

For other arms and services, women could not become permanent cadre, and had to retire much before they had completed the service period that is mandatory to become a Colonel.

What did the Supreme Court say in its order of 2020?

In 2019, the Army changed its rules allowing SSC women officers to opt for permanent commission who would have otherwise retired after 14 years of service, However, this was not retrospective, and applied only to the batches of women officers starting their careers in the Army in 2020.

With the landmark Supreme Court judgment of February 2020, the permanent commission was granted to women officers with retrospective effect. This opened the doors for their further growth and promotions in the Army, which has been of late opening leadership and higher management courses for women. #Women in command roles

What exactly does commanding a unit of the Army mean?

Once promoted to a Colonel, an officer is eligible to command troops directly in the Army, which is an acknowledgment of the leadership qualities of the officer, It is considered a coveted appointment because in no other rank-including higher ranks like Brigadier or Major General-does an officer interact directly with troops on the ground. #Best NDA Coaching in India

Multiple women officers told the Indian Express that for them it was a dream to reach this point in their career, Despite working at the grassroots level as junior officers, women officers hitherto did not get an opportunity to prove their leadership skills as they were not eligible to command a unit, For a woman officer, this is an extremely empowering move. #Women in command roles

In which arms and services will women officers command units?

Women officers in many streams of the Army, including the Army Air Defence, Signals Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics, and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, and Intelligence Corps will be commanding units,

They are still not eligible in core combat arms such as Infantry, Mechanized Infantry and Armored Corps, as the Army is not open to women fighting wars at the borders as foot soldiers. Much of the Army’s resistance stems from past instances of male soldiers being taken prisoners of war and tortured by the enemy. #Women in command roles

However, the Army has recently decided to open the Corps of Artillery, a combat support arm, to women.

What about the Indian Navy and the Indian Air force?

Women officers have been inducted into all branches of the Navy, and they will be eligible for permanent commission in the future, Women officers can command shore-based units and as they join the service and become eligible for permanent commission, they would be able to command ships and air squadrons,.

The IAF has opened all branches for women officers, including the fighter stream and the new weapon systems branch. As they are granted permanent commissions based on eligibility and vacancies, they will be eligible to command units in the future, #Women in command roles

How many women serve in the Indian armed forces?

 The Army, being the largest of the three services, has the highest number of women officers at 1705, followed by 1,640 women officers in the IAF, and 559 in the Navy. This data was submitted by the government to Parliament last year. #Women in command roles

Which other armies allow women to serve or command units?

All major countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and Israel, allow women in command positions of their national armed forces. #Women in command roles

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