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No proposal to induct women in combat duties: Antony

A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): There is no proposal to induct women in combat duties in the defence forces including as fighter pilots in the IAF , government told the Lok Sabha on Monday.

"Induction of women in combat duties has not been recommended by studies carried out by Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) in 2006 and High Level Tri-Service Committee in 2011," Defence Minister A K Antony told the House in written reply.

He was replying to a question on whether there was any proposal to recruit women pilots for fighter aircraft and other combat duties.

On increasing strength of women in the services, he said, "Recruitment of officers including women officers is an ongoing process.

"There is no separate fixed sanctioned strength for recruitment of women officers in forces and they are recruited within overall authorised strength of officers in respective services."

On policy for granting Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission women officers, the Defence Minister said they were eligible to join the Judge Advocate General, the Army Education Corps and their corresponding branches in the Navy and the Air Force, as naval constructor in the Navy and in the accounts branch in the IAF.

"In the Air Force, women will be eligible alongwith men Short Service Officers for consideration for grant of Permanent Commission in technical, administration, logistics and meteorology branches," he said.

Antony said that the government was sensitive to the issue of granting Permanent Commission to women officers in more non-combat streams and a matter regarding this was before the Supreme Court.

Replying to a question on initiatives taken by the government to encourage youth to join the armed forces, Antony said, the "government has taken a number of measures to encourage youth to join the armed forces, including conduct of recruitment rallies and media campaigns.

"The number of youth aspiring to join the armed forces has shown an increasing trend over the last few years," he said.

Antony also tabled the details of manpower shortage faced by each of the three services.

While the Army is facing a shortage of 10,526 men, the Navy and Air Force are short of 17,711 and 8,829 men.


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