It was a big day for the 209 women recruits of the ITBP when they joined the ranks of the force that maintains border vigil over the world's highest mountain range.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram presided over the Passing Out Parade and attestation ceremony of the recruits who underwent 44 weeks of basic training at the alma matter of the all ITBP soldiers, the Basic Training Centre, located at Bhanu, some 25 km from Chandigarh.
Describing the moment for the women constables as "historic" as they "are among the first to pass out," Chidambaram congratulated the parents of the new recruits for taking a bold decision by allowing their daughters to join the force.
The minister also lauded the role of the ITBP personnel for providing security cover to Indian Embassy at Afghanistan especially when it was attacked by militants in year 2008 and last year.
He said that another batch of 145 women constables of ITBP will pass out in March this year and at least four companies of women would be recruited in the force.
The Home Minister said the women personnel would be deployed for security and escort duties at Nathu La pass in Sikkim and along the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Uttarakhand into Tibet besides providing security to vital installations.
He said the Centre has increased the monetary allowances of personnel working with para-military forces to bring them at par with those in defence services.
The parade ground was aesthetically decorated as trainees displayed a fine march past with clock work precisions and the chief guest took salute and inspected the parade.
Parade Commander Constable Poonam Johri lead all the new recruits and gave a crisp display of intensive basic training imparted to the constables.
Speaking on the occasion, ITBP Director General Vikram Srivastava said that these women constables would also be provided training in high altitude mountaineering and jungle warfare among others in the month of February this year.
Besides, a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) and a bomb disposal squad with the women recruits would be constituted soon.
He said that the training centre here would soon have a counter insurgency warfare school.
Chidambaram also presented awards to the trainees. The best candidate award in drill went to Constable GD Poonam Johri, in weapon Constable GD Soni Bisht, in firing Meetu Yadav, in PT Mamta Joshi and best indoor cadet went to Sushita Begra. The over all best candidate award was given to constable GD Pooja Bisht.
Para-military forces like CRPF and the BSF already have women constables in their ranks. The CISF also has a small women's component.
Bhanu (Haryana): A history of sorts was created on Friday with the induction of the first batch of 209 women constables in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police here.
First Published: Friday, January 29, 2010, 15:16