Indian Soldiers Not Discriminated Against Based On Gender, Religion or Caste: Army Chief

© AP Photo / Mukhtar KhanIndian Border Security Force soldiers guard outside the residence of former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference party president Farooq Abdullah before Abdullah met his party colleagues in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.
Indian Border Security Force soldiers guard outside the residence of former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference party president Farooq Abdullah before Abdullah met his party colleagues in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.  - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s apex court made a landmark judgement on 17 February to open up permanent commissions for women officers and maintained that “denying them command assignments is a violation of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution”. Ever since, the top Army brass have either maintained silence or disagreed with the judgement.

Chief of Indian Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Thursday; the Army does not discriminate against any soldier based on caste, creed, religion or gender.

“The outlook of Indian Army has been throughout like this, and that is why we started inducting Women Officers as early as in 1993,” he said.

Welcoming the decision of Supreme Court, General Narvane said: “I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including women officers will be given an equal opportunity to contribute to the Nation as well as to progress in their careers."

The General's comments came after a top commander of the Indian Army had expressed a divergent view. 

“We welcome the Supreme Court ruling to give women officers permanent commissions. We don’t have any issues or regrets on the same. However, as far as combat roles for them are concerned, I think the right time for it has not come yet,” said Lieutenant General RP Singh, General Officer Commander-in-Chief of the Western Command. 

The Supreme Court of India on 17 February, while upholding a verdict by the High Court of Delhi, made a landmark judgement which ruled that women officers in short army service were entitled to permanent commissions on par with their male counterparts.

Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat has also been critical of assigning women front-line combat roles.

Indian armed forces started inducting women officers in 1992. But they were not allowed to take on fighting roles until 2016 when women were inducted as fighter pilots. The Indian Navy also introduced its first female pilot in December 2019.

 

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