Soon the women in the Indian Army will get commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery which is the major combat support arm once the government gives its approval.
On the eve of the Army Day on January 15, the chief of the Indian Army Gen Manoj Pande said that a proposal has been sent to the government to send women to the Regiment of Artillery and is awaiting approval.
If and when they get commissioned in the artillery regiment these women officers alongside their male counterparts will get to handle big Howitzers guns and deadly rocket systems.
Why such a move?
Following the permanent commission (PC) for women officers, the Indian Army is planning to induct women in the arty regiments which is part of the overall process towards making the Army as `gender-neutral’ as possible.
However, there are no plans to have them in ‘combat arms’ of Infantry: Armoured Corps (Tanks), and Mechanised Infantry (combat vehicles).
So far the women officers are already serving in Army Aviation, Corps of Signals, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Intelligence Corps, the Corps of Engineers, Army Educational Corps, Judge Advocate General Department, Army Air Defence, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Army Medical Corps (AMC), Army Dental Corps (ADC) and the Military Nursing Service (MNS).
And Military Nursing Service (MNS) is an exclusive cadre which is reserved just for women.
Women get PCs
Women officers who have been granted PCs are presently undergoing training courses and military assignments which will empower them for higher leadership roles in the Indian Army.
And, according to the Indian army PC for women officers in junior batches has started. They were considered for PC in their 10th year of service. Also posting orders for new assignments for women officers in Colonel Rank (Selection Board 3) is expected to be issued shortly.
In the 12 lakh strong army artillery is designated as a `combat arm’ and it is on the frontlines of war fighting with units which are deployed along the Line of Control and Line of Actual Control.
How many Arty Regts are there?
Over 280 according to reports and they handle the latest M777 Ultra Light Howitzers, K-9 Vajra Self Propelled Tracked Guns, Bofors Howitzers, 105mm field guns, the ‘upgunned’ Dhanush and Sharang guns; the indigenous Pinaka multi-launch rocket systems as well as Russian-origin Smerch and Grad.