New Delhi : To promote gender equality within its ranks and strengthen its force structure, the Indian Air Force has given a green signal for women to join, enlist and serve in its special force wing called the Garuda Commando Force on Monday. The decision to allow women into the special forces was taken last year but was implemented recently.
The Women will be recruited as per the Agnipath Scheme. However, they will have to meet that role’s required criteria and fitness standards strictly. The Elite wings of the Indian Armed Forces, such as PARA SF (Indian Army), MARCOS (Indian Navy) and Garuda Commando Force (Indian Air Force), are not directly assigned. It is based on volunteering.
The decision to choose women in the Indian Airforce and Navy has been approved, but the decision is pending to allow women into the Indian Army Parachute Regiment. The sphere of Special Forces is male-dominated. This is because training in this sector is much more than the meaning of the word rigorous. Even the most hardened and able-bodied fit army personnel find it tough to take on the training.
The physical and mental capabilities of the cadet are tested at the breaking point. The training regime is torturous, and thus, it is believed by many that women are better suited to other roles in the military that do not involve physical combat, such as intelligence, signals, and engineering.
The Indian Navy has given clearance for women to join MARCOS (Marine Commandos), its special wing. The Navy also provides them more opportunities to serve on naval vessels shoulder-to-shoulder with men. They have been allowed to fly helicopters and transport aircraft.
The Indian Air Force raised the Garuda Commando Force in 2004 after the four terrorists armed with Kalashnikov Rifles and grenades attempted to enter the Avantipore airbase near Srinagar. All the terrorists were killed in action. In 2015, female pilots were selected and eligible to fly in the Air Force fighter squadron.
Women in uniform are no longer on the fringes. Still, they are being assigned central roles on a par with their male counterparts – flying fighter planes, serving on board warships, being inducted in the PBOR cadre, and being eligible for permanent commission. The first batch of women candidates is currently training at the National Defence Academy.
However, the entry of women is still pending for combat positions such as tanks and infantry.