The Army has reiterated to the defence ministry that permanent commission (PC) to women officers should be restricted to only the legal (judge advocate general) and education (Army Education Corps) wings as of now, signalling that Indian armed forces do not want women even to serve in all non-combat and support arms on a permanent basis. This came after defence minister A K Antony earlier this year asked Army, Navy and IAF chiefs to re-examine granting PC to women officers in other non-combat streams as well. It is well know that the Indian armed forces suffers from acute shortage of officers, but instead of the curbing of the shortage by inducting of women in the other non-combat and combat fields of the armed forces they are restricting women from getting permanent commission for some unknown reason said a woman officers.
Since the early-1990s, women have been serving in wings like legal, education, engineering, ordnance, intelligence, signals, air traffic control and the like but only as short-service commission (SSC) officers for a maximum of 14 years. Women have been getting PC only in the medical stream as doctors, dentists and nurses. The military top brass, however, for long has contended that granting PC to women officers across the board is unfeasible due to operational, practical and cultural problems at this stage.
Legal and education wings do not involve command of men or battalions. If PC is granted to women in other streams, then they will have to be given command at some stage, for which they are not currently trained. The verdict has to be based on military needs and organizational requirements, said a senior officer.
Report by Adhir Roy Chowdury