Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 2
The Indian Navy is considering entry women as sailors—equal to jawans of the Indian Army—and separately to permit existing women officers on board warships.
While addressing the Naval Commanders on Friday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked the top-brass of the Indian Navy to give more impetus to enrollment of women in the Navy. Navy’s Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba confirmed that the enrollment of women in sailor-ranks is one of the agenda of the three-day Naval Commanders’ conference that concluded Friday, official sources said.
So far, the armed forces do have not women in non-officer ranks. In March this year, the Army announced that it will start recruiting women in other ranks in the Corps of Military Police.
The Navy has 639 women officers (including 148 doctors). The only combat-related role they have is as ‘observors’ on the maritime reconnaissance aircraft the Boeing P8-I, the IL-38 and the Dornier. Women officers are also in logistics, law, education and naval constructors, etc.
The Defence Minister was assured at the conference that Navy was considering inclusion of women in the sea-going cadre. That is being looked at in the near future, official sources said.
The Defence Minister complemented the Navy for maintaining a high operational tempo and ensuring maritime security of the country. She reiterated the need for the nation to be strong at sea and the Navy to be ready and vigilant to counter any challenge in the maritime domain.
She appreciated Navy’s efforts in the area of indigenisation, self-reliance and support to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government. She expressed her satisfaction at Navy’s initiatives to achieve ‘Digital Navy’ vision in line with the Government’s initiative of ‘Digital India Programme’.
She lauded the navy for the outstanding and efficient rescue operations undertaken in the wake of the recent floods in Kerala wherein close to 17,000 personnel were rescued. The conference undertook a review of the Navy’s modernisation plan, including induction of aircraft carrier, ships, nuclear powered submarines, conventional submarines, re-vitalisation of the aviation and sub-surface assets and induction of certain state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and equipment. Further, development of technical and support infrastructure for maintenance of these assets were also discussed in consonance with the ‘Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan 2015-30’, which has formulated the requirements of the Indian Navy towards indigenous development of equipment and systems over the next 15 years.
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