No frontier role for women, reserve the right to retaliate to Pakistan: General Bipin Rawat
He gave several examples to make his point on the �difficulties� on the frontier, asking if women are �willing to move out� in harsh environments.
Addressing media at his first official press conference, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that unless there is a change of mindset in society, otherwise women and men would not be able to work together in forward areas. He also talked about reserving the right to retaliate to Pakistan in the case of discrepancies.
Talking about the role of women in frontline combat, he said that a call can only be taken if they ‘share equal responsibility like their male counterparts’, questioning whether they would be comfortable ‘sleeping under a tank’ with their colleagues.
“A tank has a crew of three people. What do they do when they roll out or are in combat, they just sleep under the tank. They cook and sleep under the tank, there is no toilet facility or separate accommodation. So, if it is one woman or two women and a male, if they are all willing to sleep under the tank and if the women folk are willing to accept it? (sic),” the Army Chief said.
He further tried to clarify that it is a misnomer that there is no combat role for women, pointing out that officers have been inducted in arms like army air defence and the Corps of Signals. However, he gave several examples to make his point on the ‘difficulties’ on the frontier, asking if women are “willing to move out” in harsh environments.
“In Arunachal, the longest patrol that goes to the border is a 35-day patrol. At night, when you halt, all that happens is a blue sheet is pulled out and everybody sleeps under it together, there is no toilet. If women are willing to move out in that environment, the women folk themselves need to take a call,” General Rawat said in response to queries at the annual Army Press Conference ahead of Army Day.
Stating that only women can take this call, Army chief said, “We have to look at our society and see, once the women are willing to take this kind of call, we will address this issue.”
Furthermore, he said that India awaited Pakistan’s response on maintaining peace in Jammu and Kashmir but cautioned that in case “they act wrongly, we reserve the right to retaliate.”
Blaming Pakistan for disturbing the secular fabric of the country through continued proxy war, General Rawat said the Army was willing to go the extra mile to ensure the safety of people and their properties. “We should see that Jammu and Kashmir reverses to pre-1989 with everyone there living in harmony," he said.
To ensure peace and tranquillity on the border, Gen. Rawat said, “We are making this offer of peace to the adversary. If Pakistan reciprocates in the same manner and accepts it, then the “necessity to conduct surgical strikes should not arise."
“But if the offer of peace and tranquillity is not reciprocated in an appropriate manner… then this method of execution of operations (surgical strikes) will continue,” Gen Rawat cautioned.