New Delhi: In a historic decision, the government gave a nod to induction women in the military police in a bid to enhance their representation in the armed forces. Their role would range from probing rape and molestation cases to assisting the Army wherever required. Also Read - High Petrol, Diesel Prices Burden on Consumers; Tax Cut Should be Joint Call of Centre, States: FM

The announcement was shared on the official Twitter handle of the Defence Minister. “To improve representation of women in our armed forces Smt @nsitharaman takes a historic decision to induct women for the first time in PBOR role in Corps of Military Police. The women will be inducted in graded manner to eventually comprise 20% of total Corps of Military Police,” the posts read. Also Read - I-T Raid on Taapsee Pannu, Anurag Kashyap: Sitharaman Says Why It's an Issue Now, it Happened in 2013 As Well

Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army.

The development comes a few months after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the process to allow women in combat role, currently an exclusive domain of men, was moving fast and initially women will be recruited for positions in military police. “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 had said.

Adding further, the Army Chief had 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.”

The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, handling prisoners of war and extending aid to civil police whenever required.

Earlier this month, in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry Subhash Bhamre the Army has 3.80 per cent of its work force as women, the Air Force has 13.09 per cent and the Navy six per cent.

(Inputs from PTI)