Army assessing women officers for promotion, to be considered for command assignments

Representative Image | Photo: PTI

New Delhi: A total of 244 women officers are being considered for promotion against 108 vacancies, in various arms and services of the Indian Army, by a selection board, sources said on Thursday.

Women Officers Special No. 3 Selection Board will assess these officers for promotion from "the rank of Lt Col to Col", from January 9-22 to bring them "at par with their male counterparts", they said.

"A total of 244 women officers are being considered for promotion against 108 vacancies, from 1992 batch to 2006 batch, in various arms and services (Engineers, Signals, Army Air Defence, Intelligence Corps, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)," a source said.

On the culmination of the selection board, the 108 women officers who are declared fit will be considered for being posted on "various command assignments". The first set of such postings will be issued by end of January 2023, the sources said.

The vacancies for this board have been released by the government "to promote the affected women officers, to ensure gender parity in the Indian Army", they said.

"A total of 60 affected women officers have been called as observers for the selection board, to ensure fair conduct and clarify their apprehensions, if any," the source said.

Women officers are serving proudly and confidently in various operational theatres of the Indian Army. With an aim to provide equal opportunities to women, the Army has granted permanent commission (PC) to women officers at par with their male counterparts. With the grant of PC, women officers can aspire to achieve greater glory and shoulder higher ranks and responsibility, they said.

All women officers granted PC are undergoing special training courses and challenging military assignments to empower them for higher leadership roles in the Indian Army, the sources said.

Permanent commission to women officers in junior batches has also commenced, in which they are considered for PC in their 10th year of service. With the grant of PC, the women officers are "transcending into an era of gender parity" and are gearing up to "assume challenging leadership roles, akin to their male counterparts", the source added.

For the first time, five women officers have cleared the prestigious Defence Services Staff Course (DSSC) and Defence Services Technical Staff Course (DSTSC) Exam, which is held annually in the month of September. These five officers will undergo a one-year course, and it will give them adequate weightage while being considered for command appointments, the sources said.

Women combat aviators have joined their counterparts at various aviation units. Women officers as part of the Engineers, Army Air Defence and Signals are already making a mark in the forward areas of deployment. Women will soon inducted into the Corps of Artillery. Recently, a women officer has been deployed to a post in the Saichen Glacier, they said, adding, the "Indian Army believes in women's empowerment and gender neutrality".

The Indian Army is the first among the three Services to open its soldier ranks to women in the Corps of Military Police and Women Military Police soldiers have made both the organisation and the country proud by performing their duties in the most professional and proficient manner, the sources said.

Some have also represented the country at international military meets and UN missions. Women soldiers forming part of the Corps of Military Police will be continue to be inducted through the 'Agnipath Scheme' as well, they said.

In another initiative to promote 'Nari Shakti', the Army has so far recruited six meritorious sportswomen into the Corps of Military Police under its Mission Olympic Programme.

"We have considerably stepped up the role of our women soldiers in various UN Peace keeping missions. In consonance with the United Nations' Gender Parity drive, we recently deployed an Enhanced Female Engagement Team comprising two officers and 25 women soldiers to the strife-torn Abeyi region of Africa to provide relief and assistance to women and children in one of the most challenging operational and terrain conditions under the UN flag," the source said.

While women officers are already part of various adventure activities and part of airborne formations for operational employment, recent sky diving activity by three women soldiers is a new beginning and Indian Army is planning to conduct more such activities to motivate the female youth to join the Army, the sources said. PTI

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