The Parachute Regiment – Can Women Join The PARA Special Forces?

The Parachute Regiment is the regiment of Indian Army which consists of PARA and PARA (SF) battalions. It is a volunteer force of the Indian Army. Only the comparatively young, physically fit and mentally robust, intelligent, innovative and highly motivated personnel hold on till the end and successfully accomplish the assigned operational tasks.

Selection Process in the Parachute Regiment:

Before commissioning, the volunteer GCs from IMA/OTA can be directly commissioned in any of the para battalions – two officers per battalion per year. These officers are allotted a parent regiment by MS Branch.

After commissioning, interested officers from all Arms and Services volunteer for the Parachute Regiment subject to them having less than five years of service on the day they volunteer, being in medical category SHAPE-I and being graded `EXCELLENT’ in BPET. These officers retain their affiliation to their Regiment/Corps as parent regiment.

For Jawans, recruitment is carried out under the aegis of Parachute Regiment Training Centre (PRTC) with assistance from Recruiting Directorate, wherever required. In addition, volunteers from Arms/Services are also be permitted to join the Regiment voluntarily. On completion of basic military training (BMT) at PRTC, jawans are allotted a parent Infantry Regiment and the young soldiers are then dispatched to respective battalions to undergo probation and final selection.

prtc
PRTC

Training in the elite Parachute Regiment:

All officers and PBORs who volunteer for the Parachute Regiment then undergo probation in respective units – 3 months for PARA units and 6 month for Para SF units for further training. There will be physical, mental and psychological tests carried out as part of the training.

On successful completion of probation, all ranks then undergo both basic and advance training which includes specialised modes of infiltration and exfiltration, combat diving, combat freefall including HALO and HAHO jumps.

para training
Training in PRTC

Para Basic Course is held at PTS, Air Force Station, Agra, on successful completion of which they will be permanently absorbed in the Parachute Regiment. All ranks who do not volunteer to jump will be reverted to their parent Regiments.

For combat diving training, the commandos are sent to the Naval Diving School, Kochi. Like other special forces, these para commandos are trained for land, air and water.

The training drills involve live ammunition at all times.

The commandos also attend a number of schools run by the Army that specialise in terrain and environmental warfare including in Belgaum, Tawang, the desert warfare school in Rajasthan, the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), the Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Vairengte, and the Indian special forces training school in Nahan.

Women in Para:

As of now, women are not commissioned into the fighting arms like Infantry, Mechanised Infantry and Armoured Corps. The fact that Parachute Regiment fall under Infantry leaves no opportunity for women officers to get commissioned into Parachute Regiment directly. But there’s a catch – women volunteers from outside the Para Regiment just like men.

women maroon
Women in Everest Expedition team from PARA from AMC

This depends in the vacancies that come to the units of these officers, mostly non-combat arms like EME, Signals and ASC.

In this case, women are put through a probation of 28 days (clarification needed) and undergo para training and jumps to qualify for the maroon beret and para wings.

women para
Women officer from Ordnance attached with Para

After training, they go back to their parental units and return to Para Training Center for carrying out refresher training and jumps.

But as far as the special forces are concerned, women can not join the Parachute Regiment as a SF soldier.

Seema Rao – India’s only Lady Commando Trainer:

Seema Rao is India’s first woman commando trainer. She is training the Indian Special forces for 18 years without any compensation. She is a pioneer in close quarter battle due to which she is also known as the wonder woman of India.

She is born to a freedom fighter of India, pursued an education in medicine and certified as a doctor in conventional medicine and also has an MBA in crisis management. She is a combat shooting instructor, an HMI medalist, and a 7th degree Blackbelt in military martial arts. She is one of a handful of instructors in the world authorised to teach Jeet Kune Do. If you think she is one hell of a “man-material”, think again because she had been a Mrs India World beauty pageant finalist, too.

seema rao
Dr Seema Rao

She teamed up with her husband, Major Deepak Rao and contributed to training 15,000 soldiers in modern close quarter battle. She earned her Para Wings by skydiving at PTS Agra.

Together, the couple is recipients of three Army Chief citations.

dr seema rao
Dr Seema Rao

She is the proud recipient of many awards — World Peace Award by World Peace Congress, Malaysia awarded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia for contribution to the country in 2008, US President’s Volunteer Service Award, three Army Chief Citations, Home Minister of India Letter of Commendation in 2009 placing on record the selfless National service in the field of close quarters battle training, 1000 felicitations from Indian government. Yet she prefers to lie low and avoid social limelight despite being featured as a woman of substance by magazines like Society, Savvy, India Today Femina, New Woman, national newspapers, TV and going viral on social media.

Facts Source: Internet

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