Army Chief on hiring women in Army

India will not change till we change the mentality of our leaders. Here below is our Army Chief giving his views on why he cant hire women in army for important combat jobs.

Q. Women make very good soldiers, but why isn’t the Army accepting them?
A: That’s a misnomer.

Q. Military Police doesn't count. Are there any women in combat roles, tell me?
A: We have women officers as engineers, they are doing mining and demining work. In air defence, they are manning our weapon systems. But we have not put women in frontline combat because what we are engaged in right now is a proxy war, like in Kashmir.

If there is just one officer in a company and if that officer is a lady… suppose you have to go for an operation. Everybody is ready, company commander has to lead. Now in that operation you have to deal with terrorists, there will be a firefight in which the commanding officer dies, company commander dies, and so the lady officer can also die or become a casualty.

Q. Everyone knows that risk but women are volunteering to go now.
A: They are going, yes. I will give you an example. A lady who died was in service for 7-8 years. She has a kid of 2 years. He is in Delhi or Chandigarh and parents are taking care of the baby. So what I am saying is, now do you think we are ready for this?

Q. Women can fly fighter jets but not armoured tanks?
A: See, I am not saying a women who has children doesn't die, she can also die in a road accident. But in combat, when body bags come back, our country is not ready to see that.

Secondly, what will happen is there is just one woman and rest around her are just jawans. She is very much a commander so she has to do everything. She will have to go for operations. But even today we don't have that acceptance. Even today our jawans come from villages, so that acceptance will take time.

Let me tell you one thing, we have started copying western ways. I did a course in US. We had 4 ladies and 10 male officers. So what happens is after every 3-4 hours you get a break of 1 hour in which you are supposed to have your lunch or you can go to the gym. Now when we go to the gym, we all change in the gym clothes in classroom all of us.

Q. This is just logistics.
A: When I was new, I would look the other way because ladies were also there but that is the culture there. They do it this way. We need to get this system. Now what will happen will be if there will be a lady officer here. Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her.

Q. These are all just assumptions.
A: If you think this, then even in Delhi, ladies tell me that people peep. I am talking about isolation situation when she has 100 jawans around her but it happens here also in Delhi.

Q. Are you saying army isn't ready to accept women combat officers?
A: See I am ready, it is not that army is not ready. You are getting into something now you answer. Will she command?

Q. Why not?
A: Ok, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion. Can that lady officer be away from her duties for 6 months?

Q. No.
A: Then what happens? Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created. more  

View all 38 comments Below 38 comments
Modern warfare is different from medieval era, where physical strength was one criteria among others. (Though that time battles used to be civilised, fought within a limit of field (maidan) like a football or cricket match; Civilian population never disturbed.) Now we have become monstrous, because most of the armies are cowards, take resort to attacking civilians instead of taking on with conventional army. Moreover, this age war is a game of weapon and mind. Hence women can be equally good in modern warfare. Those opposing women in combat roles have the same mindset, which oppose women's entry into some temples and some dargahs. more  
'become monstrous, because most of the armies are cowards, take resort to attacking civilians' itself morally mandates restrictions. This is different from 'battles used to be civilised, fought within a limit of field (maidan) like a football or cricket match;' and history witness Women fared well in such Battles.
It is necessary to differentiate at the concept of Safety . more  
There are 20 countries where women go for combats also, we could be 21st. One may be trying to please conservative religious people, who do not like women as priests, and also do not want women to work and be dependent on men and bear their tortures. There should be restrictions on those working on constitutional positions to get employment post-retirement. more  
The issues of Women considered constitutionally as to be distinguished and and discriminated from the very issues of Men definitely mandates a different portrait of Women in India that can not allow India to take 21st place enhancing equality of Women to face battles.

When the issue of moral ethics of Battle erased, it is the such strategy that is needed . It is sure that it not the very issue of placing Women in the Combat under any pretext please. more  
The only people who blindly call for women in combat roles are those who have absolutely no idea of army life. Please do not blindly ape the West. There are definitely difficulties practical and otherwise which needs a lot of deliberation . All those- men and women- who clamor for induction of women in combat roles should be given a chance to experience the recruit training and be made to spend a week in high altitudes to see for themselves. Please do not talk of Barkha Dutt- only those who were there at that time know the protection and pampering that she got.
Col (Dr) A P Gupta (Retd) more  
Please visit Pulwama or Siachin glacier with a pack of 18 kgs on back and a rifle. Please do not comment without knowing the facts. more  
It is the women in India, who are aping the WEST, need to change their mindset. Women are not created by Nature to act as soldiers or take on jobs against the design of Nature. Working women ultimately are no asset for the society. Broken families, divorce, cheating on partners, extra-marital relations etc. are sad outfalls of a society where women are working. Women should noT think that growing up a family is any less important in the society. It plays a very crucial role and is vital for the child's mental and spiritual health. I have seen infants in creches howling for their mothers who has gone to work in the UK . It is a great violation of the child's right to enjoy his/her mother's care and warmth. But because the child is unable to fight it out in a court of law, it suffers at the hands of care takers in creches. The whole value system in our country has taken a 180 degree turn and gone awry. It is tragic. I am sure that over time, this will turn a full circle and become normal. more  
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