New Delhi: Despite celebrating the 'Nari Shakti' (women power) at the recently concluded Republic Day celebrations, which were also attended by US President Barack Obama, the Indian Army is still not ready to give combat roles to its lady officers.
According to media reports, the Indian Army is believed to have told the Defence Ministry, the chairman and chiefs of staff committee that it still does not envisage a combat role for its lady officers.
As per reports, the restrictions on lady officers' frontline combat deployment is likely to continue in the days to come.
The reports also claimed that the Army had made its recommendation before the parade toasted women power in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for promoting 'Nari Shakti'.
Interestingly, in a historic first, three services — the army, navy and the air force — were represented by all-women marching contingents at this year’s Republic Day function.
Wing Commander Pooja Thakur had a day earlier earned the distinction of being the only woman officer to command the tri-service guard of honour for a visiting head of state when Obama was given a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh had on January 27 hosted a reception in honour of lady officers and commended them for their immense contribution to the armed forces.
“The army is of the view that its women officers cannot be enrolled into its fighting arms like the infantry and the artillery just yet,” another defence ministry official said.
Since the army is involved in counter-insurgency operations in parts of the country, there is a view that the terrain and working conditions are not conducive for women, either in the Naxal-infested zones or in insurgency areas like Kashmir.’
The army's reluctance to give combat roles to lady officers is likely to shatter the hopes and aspirations of women officers to serve the nation on the battlefront.
However, no official reaction from the army has come in this regard as yet.