- Parikkar believes that this status quo, which resists women in these roles, needs to be challenged
- The army and the navy are yet to accept the women power in combat roles
- He also gave thumbs up to admitting girls in Sainik schools and allowing them into NDA as well
Seems like women will soon foray into combat roles and march into new frontiers in the armed forces.
Addressing the Ladies organisation at FICCI on July 4, the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, said, “I support women rights, empowerment, but I believe changes have to be done in a gradual manner because if you don’t do that there will be problems.”
While it took more than two decades for women to be inducted as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), the army and the navy are yet to accept the women power in combat roles.
Parikkar believes that this status quo, which resists women in these roles, needs to be challenged.
Though there still are some “no-go” areas in the armed forces, barring women to take up bigger roles, the Defence Minister wants these obsolete notions to be buried in the history.
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Talking about India being the land of women with impeccable strength, Parrikar said that women have been kept away from the armed forces for far too long.
He also feels that before this acceptance to come along, a great battle of mind needs to be fought.
Debunking general notions that soldiers will not listen to their lady commanding officer, the Defence Minister said, this is not the case. The only limiting factor is the “infrastructure”, he said.
He added, “In combat roles also there can be women. Why not have a complete women’s team; a battalion of women? So the question of women officers leading a men’s team – if there is a question of initial resistance – can also be taken care of,” quoted India Today.
Parrikar also advocated that women officers should be allowed on warships, once the ships are modified into women friendly warships, said IndiaToday report.
Stressing that this change would be a gradual one, he said that for now, he can’t allow women on submarines and warships as the current infrastructure lacks necessary facility.
Parrikar explained, “I don’t understand why we can’t place women on ships. At this stage, I will not support a submarine operation because submarines are designed for male staff.”
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Apart from the entry of women in the combat roles, Parrikar also gave thumbs up to admitting girls in Sainik schools and allowing them into NDA as well.
The defence minister did not merely end at giving suggestions, but he also assured to take up the issues with the service chiefs.