Indian Army gets its first batch of 83 women soldiers, in the Corps of Military Police

Published : May 10, 2021 12:46 IST

At the induction ceremony of the women soldiers in Bengaluru. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Women have just shattered yet another glass ceiling in the male-dominated, 1.3 million strong, Indian armed forces. On May 8, after a low-key attestation parade held at the Corps of Military Police Centre and School’s (CMP C&S) Dronacharya Parade Ground in Bengaluru, India got its first-ever batch of 83 women jawans (soldiers).

Inducted into the Indian Army’s Corps of Military Police (CMP), the 83 women Sepoys had been put through 61 weeks of gruelling intensive basic military and provost training. They learnt all forms of policing duties, management of prisoners of war, ceremonial duties and skill development, which includes both driving and maintenance of all vehicles and signal communication equipment.

The induction of women soldiers, initially announced in January 2019, aims to enhance the representation of women in the three services. Hitherto, women were only allowed to join the Army as officers in the medical, legal, education, signals, and engineering corps. The posse of 83 women jawans, aged between 19 and 22 years, comprises the top 100 selected from around two lakh applicants for a recruitment notification of the Army in 2019. Out of the 100 women, 83 successfully made it through the training.

Sources said that of the 83 jawans, 17 were graduates and 51 had a modicum of experience in the military system, having been members of the National Cadet Corps. The SSLC cutoff was 86 per cent to be considered for enlistment. Twenty-four of the jawans are from Uttar Pradesh, 26 are from Haryana, eight from Karnataka, six from Kerala, two each from Himachal Pradesh and Assam and one person at least from States including but not restricted to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

These jawans will be posted in Army units across the country in the rank of Lance Naik. Lance Naiks, along with Naik Daffadars and Havaldars, compromise the Army’s non-commissioned officer cadre. These jawans, like their male counterparts, can utilise the Combined Defence Services examination as a possible pathway to secure an officer’s commission. The Army becomes the only arm of the Indian armed forces to recruit women personnel below the rank of officer. The Air Force and the Navy do not have women in ranks below officer level. The proposal to induct women in the military police was first mooted by the Army in December 2017.

The attestation parade was commandeered by Brigadier C. Dayalan, Commandant of the CMP C&S.

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