No proposal to induct women in combat duties: Govt



New Delhi: As many as 781 women have joined the armed forces as officers since 2010, but there is no Services' proposal to induct females in combat duties including as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), the government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply, Defence Minister AK Antony tabled a report on number of women who have joined the Army, Navy and IAF since 2010.

"Women are recruited in the armed forces within the overall authorised strength of the officers' cadre. There is no specified sanctioned strength for women officers," he told the House.

While the Army inducted 343 female officers since 2010, the Navy and theIAF enrolled 129 and 309 women, respectively. This excludes the women officers who joined the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS).

On whether the government proposes to induct women in combat roles, he said, "Induction of women in combat duties has not been recommended by the studies carried out by Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) in 2006 and High Level Tri-Services Committee in 2011."

For allowing Permanent Commission (PC) to women in some select branches of the armed forces, the Defence Ministry has laid down a framework after considering a comprehensive policy paper prepared by the armed forces in November last year.

The policy was framed keeping in view the role and responsibilities of the armed forces in defending the nation and protecting the territorial integrity of the country, Antony told the Upper House.

"Women Short Service Commissioned Officers (SSCO) will be eligible for consideration for grant of PC along with men SSCOs in specific branches in the three Services such as Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC) of the Army and their corresponding branches in the Navy and the Air Force," he said.

In Navy, Permanent Commission is allowed to women as officers in Naval Constructor branch, while IAF inducts them similarly in its Accounts Branch.

PTI