Army Chief MM Naravane (Photo Credit: ANI Image)
Army Chief MM Naravane on Thursday welcomed Supreme Court's judgement on permanent commissioning of women. Calling the judgement 'very enabling', MM Naravane said, Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting Women Officers as early as in 1993. Naravane further added that their first task at hand is to comply with Supreme Court's order.
Naravane’s comments came days after the Supreme Court directed that all serving women officers recruited under the short service commission (SSC) scheme will have to be considered for Permanent Commissions (PCs). The judgment has to be implemented within three months. A group of 332 women Army officers, recruited under the Short Service Commission (SSC) since 1993, had approached the top court seeking permanent commission.
"I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including Women Officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the Nation as also progress in their careers. The Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Center and School," the Army Chief added.
At present, the Army offers permanent commission to women officers in two branches -- judge advocate general (JAG) and education. Under SSC, women officers are initially taken for a period of five years, which is extendable up to 14 years. Permanent commissioning will allow them to serve till the age of retirement. The Army recruits women officers under SSC for streams like air defence, engineering, signals and services and they can serve up to a maximum of 14 years. However, a sizeable number of women officers recruited under SSC scheme were allowed to serve beyond 14 years due to court cases as well as on the basis of their overall service records.
On the issue of Kashmir, Naravane said that the terror incidents in the valley have seen a downturn and the army is putting pressure on terror groups. "There are 15-20 terrorist camps inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where there are around 250-350 terrorists at any time and numbers may fluctuate," he said.
On the effect of FATF plenary on Pakistan activities in Kashmir, Naravane said that China has realised that they cannot back their all-weather friend (Pakistan) all the time. If the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) comes down heavily on them, they may have to do a rethink on their rhetoric and activities. FATF is a factor (in the reduction of terror activities in Kashmir valley).