Millennium Post

Time not right to include women in combat roles: Lt General RP Singh

Dehradun: The Indian Army welcomes the Supreme Court's order on permanent commission for women but the time is not right to include them in combat roles, the General Officer Commanding-in-chief of Western Command, Lieutenant General RP Singh said on Tuesday.

The top court had ruled on Monday that women should be considered for command roles and that all women officers are entitled to permanent commission. It asked the army to give them permanent commission within three months.

Currently, women are inducted through a short service commission that lets them work for up to 14 years in the army and are only allowed permanent commission in the force's legal and educational wings.

Lt Gen Singh said this while replying to a question on giving combat roles to women army officers during an interaction with reporters at the Western Command's Investiture Ceremony in Uttarakhand's capital of Dehradun. "We welcome the SC ruling to give women officers permanent commission. We don't have any issues or regrets on the same. However, as far as combat role for them is concerned, I think the right time for it has not come yet," said Lt Gen Singh.

"It is an evolutionary process. Women officers are already into other wings related to combat if not direct. We hope in the future they will get into more roles and contribute to the Indian Army," he added.

The Supreme Court's judgment has been hailed for creating a new equality paradigm in the armed forces as Union defence minister Rajnath Singh said the government was committed to strengthening "stree shakti" (women power) in the military. Politicians cutting across the party lines also welcomed the ruling on permanent commission (PC) for women in the army.

Earlier during the event, the Western Command chief presented 41 awards including 32 Sena Medals for gallantry, two Sena Medals for distinguished service and seven Vashisht Seva Medals to army officers and soldiers. Apart from this 16 elite units of the Western Command were also honoured for their professional excellence.

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