Earlier limited to the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Corps, they are now being inducted to all the services and combat support arms.
Permanent Commission for Women Officers
Permanent Commission is granted to women officers in 12 Arms and Services (in addition to the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service) where they are commissioned.
The Navy also inducts women officers onboard warships in afloat billets and as Special Naval Air Operation (NAO) officers in the Indian Navy.
The IAF’s experimental scheme to induct women officers into all combat roles, initiated in 2015, was regularised in 2022 and made permanent.
Women Cadets in National Defence Academy (NDA)
Armed Forces have opened entry for women candidates in the National Defence Academy (NDA). The fourth batch of female cadets started training in the NDA in January 2024. The organisation is ensuring inclusive measures to carry out all necessary administrative, training, and policy changes to enable this.
The most significant step announced is women officers being considered for Colonel (Select Grade) ranks and being given Command appointments. Certain waivers have also been given to rule out any impediment in the career progression of those who could not undergo mandatory career courses during the transition period. This step must be viewed from the perspective that when commissioned into the forces, the prime goal of every such entrant is to be the unit’s Commanding Officer.
The entry of women as Agniveers has also commenced in all three Services. These changes are momentous. The entry of women officers will also compensate for the shortages that all three forces have been experiencing in recruiting officers. With their induction in the Artillery, women remained out of combat arms like infantry, mechanised infantry, and armoured corps. These arms are most intimately involved in close combat. A few armies also induct women in these arms, Israel being an example.