On Saturday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that there are women officers, who are engaged in exercises like de-mining and mining operations and management of Air Defence system but cited difficulties in assigning them with a frontline combat role.
General Rawat said that in frontline combat there are high-risks of officers getting killed and added that “See, I am not saying a woman who has children doesn’t die. She can also die in a road accident. But in combat, when body bags come back, our country is not ready to see that.”
He continued, “We have women officers as engineers, they are doing mining and demining work. In air defence, they are manning our weapon systems. But we have not put women in frontline combat because what we are engaged in right now is a proxy war, like in Kashmir.”
General Rawat cited logistical reasons behind not posting women officials on frontlines and said, “Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her.”
When General Bipin Rawat was questioned whether a women officer with commanding responsibility can stay aside from her post for long? He replied, “I am ready, it is not that army is not ready (for combat role for the women). Will she commands? Okay, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion. Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created.”