The Indian Armed Forces have opened its doors to women in the Special Forces in a historic move towards gender inclusion, allowing them to serve in varied roles and prove their mettle in a historically male-dominated area. Women have broken down barriers and smashed preconceptions over the years, thriving in a variety of areas inside the armed forces. One final frontier, though, remains unconquered: serving in the elite Special Forces.
The Special Forces, which include the Army’s Para-Special Forces, the Navy’s Marine Commandos, and the Air Force’s Garud Commando Force, are recognised for their fierce reputations and the arduous training required to become a member of these restricted units. Their procedures necessitate not only physical strength but also tremendous mental fortitude and unshakable determination.
RRM on Women in Special Forces
In a recent written reply to the Lok Sabha, junior defence minister Ajay Bhatt revealed that women officers in the armed forces are indeed eligible to volunteer for induction into the Special Forces, provided they meet the rigorous selection qualitative requirements (QRs) and successfully complete the challenging training. This programme is a step forward in promoting gender equality in the armed forces and recognising women’s talent in this profession.
How Many Volunteered for Special Forces?
Two female officers in the Indian Air Force volunteered for Special Forces training, proving their bravery and dedication to serving the country at the greatest level. Unfortunately, they were unable to complete the rigorous training, but their spirit of volunteerism sets the path for future attempts.
Similarly, 20 female Agniveers (sailors) in the Navy underwent aptitude exams for recruitment into the Special Forces. Despite their hard work and desire to succeed, none of them were eligible. Their aims and efforts, however, serve as a reminder that getting into these elite teams necessitates constant perseverance and training.
Women Playing Crucial Roles in the Armed Forces
The military has been cautious in expanding options for women, ensuring that no concessions are made in the strict selection or training criteria. Inclusivity does not imply lowering the standard; rather, it implies providing equal opportunity to all qualified individuals, regardless of gender.
It is critical to acknowledge the significant progress made by women in the armed services. In the Indian Air Force nowadays, women pilot cutting-edge fighter aircraft such as MiG-21s, MiG-29s, Sukhoi-30MKIs, and even the formidable Rafales. The Navy, too, has posted approximately 30 female officers on frontline warships, considerably contributing to maritime security.
Furthermore, more than 145 women serve in the Army, Navy, and Air Force as helicopter and transport aircraft pilots, where they perform critical roles in a variety of operations. The recent commissioning of five female commanders into artillery regiments demonstrates the armed forces’ openness to seeking new paths for women to serve.
Despite these hopeful improvements, women continue to be barred from entering the Army’s main combat arms, such as the infantry, mechanised infantry, and armoured corps. While some progress has been made, it is critical to continue the conversation and explore options for women to serve in all parts of the military.
Women have gone a long way since their admission as officers in the early 1990s and as Agniveers more recently. Their devotion, professionalism, and bravery have demonstrated that they are more than capable of serving in the armed forces with distinction.
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