Government to take decisions to improve women’s strength in armed forces: Manohar Parrikar

Saturday, 25 July,New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday expressed concern over the low participation of women in armed forces, saying the Centre will take “a lot of decisions” in next couple of months for improving their numbers.

“I am bit pained as only 3,298 ladies are in armed forces (in the country),” Parrikar said addressing a gathering after inaugurating ‘Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute’.

The institute has been set up by Punjab government to impart specialized training exclusively to women aspirants across the state to join armed forces in the country.

“In next one or two months, a lot of decisions regarding participation of women or girls in the armed forced will be taken,” Parrikar, who visited Punjab for the first time as Defence Minister, said.

He said the government was examining the restrictions faced by women in joining the army and added that it would do everything to increase their participation.

“I want women should join armed forces in a big way. We will take a decision with regard to whatever restrictions are there after examining the same in next few days,” Parrikar “The government has decided that in the wake of low participation of women in the armed forces, it will do everything, whatever it requires to improve their strength,” he asserted.

Parrikar noted that women had also made big sacrifices in protecting the country.

“It has been a tradition of this country that women had also made sacrifices for protecting the nation. It is not that only men had sacrificed their lives (in protecting the borders). At some places, their sacrifices will be more than that of men,” he said.

The defence minister, who made a short speech, further said there were a lot of misunderstandings about those serving in Supply corps and Education corps that they do not perform their duties at border. “They also face as much danger as other soldiers face,” he said.

Parrikar also congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for setting up the institute for women. “I consider myself lucky to have come here. This function is also about women empowerment,” he said. Parrikar said he shared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on women empowerment.

He also asked Badal to raise the intake capacity from 25 in the Mai Bhago Institute.

On this occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, state ministers Ajit Singh Kohar, Chunni Lal Bhagat, Daljeet Singh Chhema, Madan Mohan Mittal, Praminder Singh Dhindsa, MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, BJP Punjab Chief Kamal Sharma, ex-army chief V P Malik, ex-army Chief Deepak Kapoor, GOC-in-C Western Command, Lt General KJ Singh were also present on this occasion.

Notably, a separate dais was also set up for serving and ex-servicemen on this occasion.