Defense minister Manohar Parrikar has indicated a wider role for women in combat duties. Speaking at an event in Delhi on Monday, he said that the Army could raise an all-women combat battalion.
“There is a thinking that (male) soldiers will not listen to a commanding officer who is a lady because they are not trained to do that. I don’t agree with this as the only restriction today is infrastructure,” he told an audience of mostly women today at the apex industry chamber Ficci.
Parrikar said he felt encouraged to overcome the resistance against recruiting women in the military as the “psychological barrier” has been broken with the induction of female fighter pilots last month.
He added that women officers could also serve on warships. “I don’t understand why we can’t place women on ships. At this stage I will not support (deployment of women in) a submarine operation because submarines are designed to be unigender…. There are no separate areas for women (in a submarine),” he said.
He added that the idea of allowing girl cadets at the premier National Defence Academy as well as Sainik Schools is also being considered.