Women Prefer To Join Indian Air Force Over Army and Navy

Women up for a career in the armed forces have been veering more towards the Indian Air Force (IAF) than the Army or Navy since 2013.

Ministry of defence (MoD) statistics have it that while 127 women officers were commissioned in the Army in 2013, the number slipped to 104 in 2014 and 72 in 2015. Last year, only 37 women officers had joined the army till August.

Likewise, while 50 women officers joined the Navy in 2013, the number marginally rose to 57 in 2014 but dropped to 35 in the subsequent year.

On the other hand, the number of women officers commissioned in the IAF has shown a steady increase during the corresponding period. While 144 women joined the air force in 2013, the number rose to 155 in 2014 and 223 in 2015. Last year, 85 women officers had joined the IAF till August.

The MoD statistics exclude those joining the medical and dental branches.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 31: New Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa arrives for inspecting Guard of Honor at Air Force Headquarter before taking over from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 31, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The present Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concepts of air operations of the Indian Air Force to contemporary war fighting practices. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

A section of serving Army “lady officers”, as they are commonly called, said limited opportunities to get permanent commission, tough duty hours and postings were major reasons for women deserting the force. Presently, the permanent commission for women Army officers is restricted to the Judge Advocate-General wing and the Army Education Corps.

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A woman captain in the infantry arms of the Army told TOI, “Women officers have been performing courageously in different regions, including the Northeast and forward areas. Though they have not been directly deployed in combat, their role in logistic supports cannot be ignored. The authorities should open other branches for permanent commission so that more women officers can continue with their service in the force.”

NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 31: A woman Air Force officer salutes New Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa during his guard of honour ceremony at Air Force Headquarters before taking over from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 31, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The present Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concepts of air operations of the Indian Air Force to contemporary war fighting practices. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The officer said, “I did not even think about this aspect earlier as my dream was solely to join the Indian Army. However, after serving five years, I feel that I should get permanent commission. I can get only four years if I opt for an extension presently.”

Another army officer said, “Officers like Lt Col Sophia Qureshi have done commendable work in peacekeeping operations in Congo in 2006. If other women officers get opportunities like her, they will also do better and match their male counterparts.”

Captain Vidula Kelshikar, who retired from the Army Services Corps in 2012, said it was true that women preferred the IAF more than the other wings. “Since IAF has opened its flying branch for women, most aspirants see an exciting career in flying as either a helicopter pilot or a transport aircraft pilot. Besides, many aspirants are aware of the nature of duty in all three forces and prefer to join the IAF,” she said.Manasi Yeole, who intends to join the IAF, said, “I want to join the flying branch because of the thrill and the exciting job profile.”

IAF became the first branch of the armed forces to allow, on an experimental basis, combat roles for three women flying officers on short service commission.

A retired lieutenant-general felt that male officers should change their approach towards their women counterparts. “Women officers are sincere and hardworking. Their performance in the legal and education branches is excellent. The authorities need to create more permanent vacancies for them,” he said.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 31: A woman Air Force officer salutes New Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa during his Guard of Honor ceremony at Air Force Headquarter before taking over from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 31, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The present Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concepts of air operations of the Indian Air Force to contemporary war fighting practices. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In 2015, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had specifically said in Pune that women officers cannot be inducted in combat roles in the Army because the nation cannot afford to have a situation where a woman solider is held prisoner of war by an enemy country.

Manasi Yeole, who intends to join the IAF, said, “I want to join the flying branch because of the thrill and the exciting job profile.”

 IAF became the first branch of the armed forces to allow, on an experimental basis, combat roles for three women flying officers on short service commission.
 A retired lieutenant-general felt that male officers should change their approach towards their women counterparts. “Women officers are sincere and hardworking. Their performance in the legal and education branches is excellent. The authorities need to create more permanent vacancies for them,” he said.

Indian Air Force soldiers rehearse for the forthcoming Republic Day parade on Rajpath in New Delhi on January 13, 2017.
India will celebrate its 68th Republic Day on January 26 with a large military parade. / AFP / Dominique Faget (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
 

In 2015, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had specifically said in Pune that women officers cannot be inducted in combat roles in the Army because the nation cannot afford to have a situation where a woman solider is held prisoner of war by an enemy country.

source:TOI

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