Women soldiers have been deployed to guard the Line of Control (LoC) for the first time in India. Two Sections – which includes 10 personnel each - of female soldiers from the Assam Rifles regiment were deployed at the LoC in Kashmir in May, according to recent reports. These women are deployed in different locations, including Uri and Keran.
Like their male counterparts, these two Sections of women will be manning check posts and performing security duties. Additionally, The New Indian Express reports, they will also cater to the gender-sensitive duties, like frisking women (civilians) when necessary.
As per a media report, women officers constitute only four percent of the total strength of officers in the Indian Army. Amongst the 1,653 Women Officers in the Indian Army, 77 Officers have over 20 years of service, and 255 have service tenure between 14 and 20 years.
It was only a few weeks ago that the Ministry of Defence has issued a formal government sanction letter for permanent commission of women officers in the Indian Army. This followed the Supreme Court’s direction to the Centre on February 17, 2020, to grant permanent commission to women officers in the army.
Although a handful of recent developments give hope for women power in Indian army and its paramilitary services, challenges continue. Recently, women officers who had cleared the eligibility criteria for permanent commission in the Army this February challenged in the apex court, the revised standards they must meet now. These include new physical fitness tests and completion of a mandatory junior command (JC) course. According to women officers, the standards for physical test rules were “unfair” with “no scientific basis.” In March, the Directorate General of Military Training (DGMT) of the Army made a JC course at Army War College at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, mandatory for women officers.