Government has ruled out combat duties for women officers in defense forces, yet it stressed the expansion of streams for them.
Defense Minister A K Antony informed the Lok Sabha that there was no proposal to induct women into combat duties in the defense forces including that of fighter pilots in Indian Air Force.
However, he assured that in the future there would be consideration for the inclusion of women in the combat duties.
Antony said, "A study carried out by Headquarters Integrated Defense Staff in 2006 on all aspects of employment of women officers in the armed forces recommended exclusion of women officers from close combat roles."
He added, "...But this is not final. We are committed. We are sincere and I am sure in course of time they will be able to join combat duties. Gradually we are moving towards that."
The minister mentioned that in the last three years only 398 women officers were recruited in 2007, 399 in 2008 and 432 (half year) in 2009.
Answering another query, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju clarified that government was in no way prejudiced against women and that it had started recruiting women in the permanent commission through Short Service Commission. He also assured the parliament that the streams are continuously expanding. However, Raju made it clear that there were no sanctioned strength of women officers and that they were selected based on their eligibility.