Among the brave heroes in the Indian army, who have every bit of grit and determination in them, we have some extraordinary women in the armed forces who are part of the history too:
Punita Arora: She has served in the army for 37 years and is first female Vice Admiral in the navy and also first woman to hold the rank of Lieutenant General in the Indian Armed Forces.
Padmavathy Bandopadhyay: She has set her own bar with being the first woman to become Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force, become a fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society and conduct an experiment in extreme cold conditions at North Pole.
Divya Ajith Kumar: At just a tender age of 21, she became the first woman in the Indian Army to be presented with the 'Sword of Honor'.
Priya Jhingan: In 1992, Priya became the first woman to join the Indian Army. Indian Army opened admissions to women much later than Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
Ganeve Lalji: She was the first woman to receive the distinction of aide-de-camp in the Indian Army. She proved her ability after several hardships.
Deepika Misra: Deepika was the first IAF woman pilot who underwent training for the helicopter aerobatic team, Sarang. The team is one of the only four helicopter military display team in the world.
Shanti Tigga: Shanti was 35 and mother to 2 kids when she finished 1.5 km run 5 seconds before her male co-cadets to become first jawan of the Indian army.
Nivedita Choudhary: Nivedita is the first woman from the Indian Air Force to reach to the peak of Mt.Everest.
A report released claims that India now has the most number of women pilots in the Air Force than ever before, however, figures released by Raksha Rajya Mantri have pointed out that the number of female patriots in the Indian army is very low.
The report in question quotes the strength of women officers is 1,561 as compared to 41,074 that of their male counterparts in the Indian Army.
Meanwhile, the same report puts the female quotient in the Indian Air Force at 1,594 as compared to a 10,781 of male. The Indian Navy, however, has the worst gender ratio with 644 women against 10,652 men inducted in 2016.
The report takes into consideration officers currently serving in the Indian Armed Forces excluding those who are serving in the medical and dental branches in the cases of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy respectively and also excluding those serving in the dental, medical and nursing branches of the Indian Army.
Women's' role in the Indian army can be traced back to 1888 when the "Indian Military Nursing Service" was formed. It was only in 1992 that the Indian army decided to induct females to serve in combat units like the Armored Corps, Infantry and Mechanized Infantry.
Both the government of India and the defense ministry have finalized their plans for setting up a permanent commission for women officers in law and education and naval constructors’ branch. As a set of policies concerning the permanent commissioning to women officers in certain branches of the Indian Air Force have been issued, the Indian Army is yet to issue any similar policies.
As of 2018, women have yet not been allowed as combatants in the combat specialist forces, such as Garud, MARCOS, para-commandos, Ghatak, etc. Current the policy also takes from them the right to be inducted into arms of the Indian Army.
In fact, Home Minister in March of 2017 announced that women will be inducted in 33 per cent constable-rank personnel in Central Armed Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and 15 per cent in border guarding forces Border Security Force (BSF), Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
By: Neha Maheshwari