It was on October 3, 2011 when India welcomed its first woman jawan to the armed forces, which instigated the turning tide of women’s era in the nation. Mrs.Sapper Shanti Tigga became the first lady jawan to join the 1.3 million strong defense forces, in what made the women of the country feel proud of the achievements of her fellow sister.
Four years from then, at now India has a separate contingent of 500 women personnel deployed at the Ind-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at Panchkula’s Bhanu camp. This vibrant “Mahila” squad houses women from various states in India namely Uttarakhand, Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Posted at altitudes of about 9000-14000 feet, the ITBP believes that the women of our country have the required ammunition to steam up their blood to bring down the ruthless radical elements pertaining in the nation. After 44 weeks of training in battle craft and mountain survival, these women were admitted into the Border guarding force in ranks of constables.
After the Chinese aggression in 1962, the government has dealt with utmost caution by regularly deploying troops and checking the movements of insurgents in the region. At now the ITBP is now considering to have women personnel to make up at least 40 percent of the troops at the forward posts. Currently, India has more than 8,350 women military officers (including those from Armed Forces Medical Services and Military Nursing Services). If you add up the officers and non-officers of the Paramilitary forces, such as the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Coast Guard, the number of women in the military exceeds 25,000. At present, these numbers account for about 5% of the total armed forces in India. Though this may seem to be barely comparable with the armed forces of countries like USA, Australia, Israel, but these numbers are set to mutate faster than them in the coming years.
Women are now serving in all walks of the nation’s armed forces wings. They even serve as Pilots in the Indian Air Force which is considered not an effortless thing to see. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory in 2013, asking states and union territories to raise the representation of women in the police to 33% which has now been implemented across the country.
These intrepid women not only serve their motherland with resolve but are also participating in UN peace-keeping missions as well. Currently, an Indian female contingent, consisting of 125 police officers, has been deployed in Monrovia, Liberia, under the United Nations Mission in Liberia.
Another great pride in showcasing the Mahila army of India was the 66th Republic day celebrations where the all-women contingent of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force stole the show at the parade. While women officers have been participating in previous Republic Day parades, this was for the first time that an all-women contingent of the armed forces participated. Marching down the majestic Rajpath, these women never ceased to show their enthusiastic service for the country.
Well, days are not far for our audacious women to battle out in the combat regimes of the armed forces as all those aspiring dreams will be soon be depicted in reality.