No plan for women in army combat role, Parrikar tells Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) There are no plans to induct women for combat roles in the Indian Army, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“Presently, there is no proposal to raise a women’s combat unit in the army,” Parrikar said in his written reply.

He said there is no ‘gender discrimination’ in the army.

“There is no gender discrimination in the armed forces as the working conditions, promotion prospects, pay and allowances and service conditions of women officers are same as those of the male officers,” he said.

Last week, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha to a question of inducting women in combat roles in the armed forces, Parrikar had mentioned the induction of three women Short Service Commission Officers as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.

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He reiterated that it was an “experimental entry scheme”, and will be valid for “five years from the date of issue of government of India letter dated December 2, 2015”.

“Further possibilities are being examined,” the minister said.

President Pranab Mukherjee, in his speech to the joint sitting of Parliament’s two houses at the beginning of the 2016 budget session, said the government will soon be allowing women in combat streams in all three armed forces.

“My government has approved the induction of women as short service commission officers and as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force. In the future, my government will induct women in all the fighter streams of our armed forces,” President Mukherjee had said.

At present, the army has 1,514 women officers, the navy has 439, and the air force has 1,584 women officers. The number totals 3,537.

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