Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Image: Twitter/ RMO India)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on October 14 said that women will be able to join India's premier military training institutions such as the National Defence Academy (NDA) from 2022.
Addressing the SCO-international webinar on ‘Role of Women in the Armed Forces’, Singh said "I am happy to share with you that from next year, women shall be able to join our premier tri-service pre-commissioning training institute, the National Defence Academy."
"Women have and will remain equal contributors in this fight, both within the armed forces and beyond them," he said.
He also said that India's approach to their induction in the police, central police, paramilitary and armed forces has been progressive.
Also Read: SC no to Centre's request to allow women in NDA exam from 2022, says induction can't be postponed
"Our approach to the induction of women in the police, central police, paramilitary and armed forces has been progressive. We have taken the evolutionary path of moving from support to combat support and thereafter to combat arms within the armed forces," he said.
"We have found that the process of induction, given its broad-based and progressive path, has also simultaneously prepared the society and the armed forces for this change. This is an important aspect to ensure a smooth and successful transition," he added.
Giving examples of previous women leaders of our country, he said, "Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi not only led the country for a number of years, but she also did so during the times of war."
"India’s former Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi not only led the country for a number of years, but she also did so during times of war. And more recently, Shrimati Pratibha Patil was the President of India and the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces," he added.
He further said there are a number of examples of women taking up arms to protect their country and the rights of the people through history. "Rani Laxmi Bai is amongst the most revered and respected amongst them," he said.
Singh said the tradition of women as both caregivers and protectors have continued over the centuries and remains deeply embedded in the customs and traditions of the region. "If Saraswati is our goddess of knowledge, wisdom and learning, mother Durga remains associated with protection, strength, destruction and war," he said.
Singh said India is amongst a very few countries that took an early initiative in terms of women's participation in the armed forces and that women are now being accepted for permanent commissioning and shall be commanding Army units and battalions in the near future.
"Women have been serving with pride in the Indian Military Nursing Service for over 100 years now. The Indian Army had commenced commissioning women officers in 1992. It has now moved to induct women officers in most of the branches of the Army," he said.