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Difficult to put women in combat role: Army Chief Bipin Rawat

Rawat Questioned Whether A Women Officer With Commanding Responsibilities Can Stay Away From Her Post For Long

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Fayiq Wani | Updated on: 16 Dec 2018, 08:49:56 AM
He cited logistical reason also behind not posting women on frontlines

New Delhi:

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Saturday said there are women officers engaged in exercises like mining and de-mining operations and also manning the air defence system, but cited difficulties in assigning them frontline combat role. He said that in frontline combat there are risks of officers getting killed.

"See, I am not saying a woman who has children doesn't die. She can also die in a road accident. But in combat, when body bags come back, our country is not ready to see that," Rawat said in an interview to CNN News 18.

"We have women officers as engineers, they are doing mining and demining work. In air defence, they are manning our weapon systems. But we have not put women in frontline combat because what we are engaged in right now is a proxy war, like in Kashmir," he said.

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He cited logistical reason also behind not posting women on frontlines.

"Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her," Rawat said.

Rawat questioned whether a women officer with commanding responsibilities can stay away from her post for long? 

"I am ready, it is not that army is not ready (for combat role for the women). Will she command? Ok, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion.

"Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created, he added.

Rawat said the Indian Army proposed to increase intake of women in more non-combat roles such as interpreters and cyber specialists.

Besides, it also was mulling recruiting women for the military police, he told reporters in Hyderabad on the sidelines of the combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal on the city outskirts.

"We are saying, we are going to increase the intake. Women are already there in the Army. We are now going to take them more into some other cadres gradually, we are expanding the Indian Army to women officers," he said.

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First Published : 16 Dec 2018, 08:49:46 AM