New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has directed the three service chiefs to come out with a detailed report encapsulating the ways in which role of women can be increased in armed forces besides the challenges and the infrastructural changes needed in this regard.
Parrikar, who is batting for enhanced role of women even in combat positions, met the three service chiefs recently to discuss the issue.
"The three chiefs have been asked to prepare a detailed report on the ways one can increase the role of women. They have also been asked to note the challenges and the changes that need to be carried out," defence sources said.
The development came days after Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha announced that his force has moved a proposal for recruiting women as fighter pilots.
Following this, Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan had also said that Navy is looking at the possibility of recruiting women as pilots for its surveillance aircraft.
However, he has ruled out combat role for women in the force for the time being due to government rules.
The three services were till now cold to the idea of having women in combat roles and cited a number of reasons ranging from deployment issues to lodging and physical parameters. Parrikar had recently said that he is in favour of assigning roles to women in the army's counter-terrorism operations.
He had said "in principle" he was in favour of women in combat positions, but a final decision would be taken later. "I don't see why not. We take them as equal in everything," Parrikar had said in reply to a question.
The ministry could assign them "role in counter-terrorism operations (at the borders) or even to tackle terrorists within the country," he said.
About the IAF proposal he had said, "It has to be done in a phase-wise manner. It won't happen immediately."
He added that the final notification on inducting women as fighter aircraft pilots would also take some time.
He also cited that the United Arab Emirates Air Force has women fighter plane pilots who had carried out strikes on ISIS targets.