Women to be inducted in all fighting streams in future: President

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The government will allow women in all fighting streams of the armed forces, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday.

“In our country ‘Shakti’, which means power, is the manifestation of female energy. This Shakti defines our strength. My government has approved the induction of women as Short Service Commission officers and as fighter pilots in the IAF (Indian Air Force),” he said.

“In the future, my government will induct women in all the fighter streams of our armed forces,” the president said while addressing a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament marking the commencement of the budget session.

President Mukherjee, however, did not give a timeline for this.

Women form a very minor section in the armed forces, with the IAF having the highest number at 1,350 followed by the army with 1,300 and the navy with 450 women officers, according to official information.

The 1.3 million-strong Indian armed forces have 59,400 officers.

A glass ceiling was broken recently when the IAF announced it will soon be inducting women fighter pilots.

The Indian Navy is now planning to induct women as pilots for reconnaissance aircraft.

The president added that the government has taken several measures to ensure safety and security of women.

“My government has initiated several measures to ensure safety and security of women which include nationwide Emergency Response Systems, a Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, an Organized Crime Investigative Agency and an Integrated Emergency Response Management System for women’s safety on the railways.”

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