SIR, Apropos the report “In a first, Army board elevates 5 women officers to Colonel rank”, (24 August), the process to elevate women to the rank of Colonel should have been considered long ago.
Congratulations to Lt Col Sangeeta Sardana, Lt Col Sonia Anand, Lt Col Navneet Duggal, Lt Col Reenu Khanna and Lt Col Ritcha Sagar on their elevation. But let me highlight some pertinent points in this context.
There is no denying that the selection procedure for the officer cadre in the services ~ Army, Navy, Air force ~ is tough. It is done through a series of physical, psychological, IQ and medical tests. One has to be quick in one’s response, intelligent and even exceptional to make the cut.
Knowing all this, it is my firm conviction that there is no dearth of eligible women with aptitude and dedication to serve in the armed forces.
For decades, there has been a perception in the country that women are either unfit for military service or that they do not try for these services.
One of the main reasons is a severe lack of initiative on the part of the government to encourage women to join the military services. The policy-makers and the authorities must make optimum utilisation of our women.
To this end, the recruitment process for women needs review in the Armed Forces. Policy makers must realise that Indian women have made striking progress in various professional activities like economics, science and technology. Further, policy makers should remember that Indian women made history by joining the ranks of fighter pilots in 2015-16. Women are serving in selected branches of Indian Naval ships and establishments.
In November 2017, Shubhangi Swaroop became the first woman pilot in the Indian Navy. Given proper scope, suitable infrastructure and training, women can prove themselves. Ethically, women’s success should always be promoted with dignity in the country. Unfortunately, the news of women’s feats in the armed forces does not get enough publicity.
Thousands of young energetic girls in rural India, mostly class eight drop outs, are earning through physical labour in the agricultural field and elsewhere.
Have we ever wondered how their strength and devotion can be used in “military” service?
Yours, etc., Indrani Guha,
Kolkata, 25 August.