New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that they were mulling over if women could be given permanent commission (PC) in the forces. “In some fields, where we need permanency, male officers in a command-oriented Army don’t fit everywhere. Keeping women officers in fields like language interpreter, military diplomacy will be beneficial,” he said.

Assuring of absorbing more women in the armed forces, General Rawat said, “You’ll see an increase in the role of women in the armed forces. We haven’t yet taken them in a frontline combat role. We feel we aren’t yet ready. Western nations are more open. Boys and girls are operating together in big cities here but people in the Army don’t only come from big cities.”

Earlier this year, there were reports of the Army planning to create a “specialized cadre” system in a bid to grant permanent commission to women so that they can be deployed in various other non-combatant fields.

There are six branches of the Indian Army which has been identified for women to continue their job after completion of 10+4 years of Short Service Commission and they are Judge Advocate General (JAG), image interpreter, language, cyber & IT, Air Traffic Control and Service Selection Board.

Meanwhile, General Rawat’s thoughts on a permanent commission for women echo Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s sentiments when he announced, during his Independence Day speech, a PC for women in armed forces. Currently, women are inducted into the services through the Short Service Commission and given permanent commission only in a few branches. PM Modi said that this was his gift to Indian women on Independence Day.

The Ministry of Defence has filed an affidavit in the apex court in May this year, stating that it required six months to formulate modalities and enforce the changes and alterations in the three forces.

“All three wings of the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence are actively considering the issue of parity between male and female officers in securing PC in the armed forces,” the affidavit stated. The grant of PC at par with their male counterparts has been a long-standing demand of women officers who are inducted for a period of ten years, extendable by another four years under the SSC scheme.