NEW DELHI: Shattering yet another glass ceiling in the overwhelmingly male-dominated armed forces, the first-ever batch of 83 women jawans have now been inducted into the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in the 13-lakh strong Army.
The attestation parade of the 83 women soldiers was held at the CMP Centre & School at Bengaluru on Saturday after they underwent 61 weeks of intensive basic military and provost training, which included all forms of policing duties and management of prisoners of war, ceremonial duties, skill development and signal communications.
Reviewing the parade, CMP Centre commandant Brigadier C Dayalan expressed his confidence that the training imparted to the women soldiers, along with the standards they achieved, would hold them in good stead. They will prove to be force-multipliers at their new units located across varied terrains and operational conditions in the country, he said.
Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand, in turn, said the force plans to induct 1,700 women in the PBOR (personnel below officer rank) category in the CMP in a phased manner over the next 16-17 years.
The Army, Navy and IAF, which together number over 15-lakh, have till now inducted women only as officers, and that too in small numbers. Several branches have been progressively opened for women in recent years, with the IAF now even having 10 women fighter pilots.
The Navy also earlier this year deployed four women officers onboard its warships after a gap of around 23 years. But women are still not allowed to serve on board submarines or join “fighting arms” in the Army like infantry, armoured corps and artillery.
Officers say recruitment of women as soldiers (general duty) in the CMP is a path-breaking step, with the Army also planning to deploy women soldiers for crowd control and frisking of women protestors in militancy-hit areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
Moreover, the CMP women will also help in investigation of criminal cases like rapes and molestation as well as in preserving good order and discipline in military formations.