The Indian Army’s decision to induct women in Military Police Corps shows wider acceptance for women in the force, but it is not an indication of women getting into combat roles, experts said on Friday.
On Friday it was announced that the Indian Army would induct women in the Corps of Military Police and a proposal is being finalised for inducting around 800 women — with a yearly intake of 52.
The decision was announced at the Army Chiefs’ Conclave, a forum of former Army chiefs, who were told that with increasing need for investigation of gender-specific allegations and crime, a necessity was felt to introduce women in the Corps of Military Police.
Asked if it is an indication of women getting combat roles in the future, Brigadier S.K. Chatterji (retired) pointed that the Corps of Military Police was different from combat.
He however said that the move shows increasing acceptability for women in the force.
“Military police is a service. I do not see this affecting directly women getting in combat, specifically where they have not been given entry. But it is an indicator they are now being accepted more widely in the Army,” Chatterji told IANS.
“The nature of job in the combat units is so different that other considerations come into play. In case of a woman on frontline being captured, will she be dealt with dignity or not – those are issues that come in,” he said.
Colonel P.N. Khera (retired) pointed out that Military Police was meant to maintain law and order, and had nothing to do with combat.
“It is not really a combat job. Military police is for discipline. Like police, they help in maintaining law and order, they do not go to the border. That is one decision government has to take separately,” Khera told IANS.
“For taking that kind of decision, whether women should be in combat role, one has to really live the Army infantry life,” he said.
Major General Deepak Mehta (retired) welcomed the decision, but added that taking women in combat streams would require different considerations.
“In combat arms, I do not visualise their role unless there is an administrative role. Military police is not combat troop,” Mehta told IANS.
“Considering the fact of the problems in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast, where even women are now pelting stones, a small number of women may be inducted. It is a specific requirement,” he said.
He pointed out that women are already in the field and in a number of branches which are also involved in supporting combat arms.
“There are women officers in the combat field. Of course they have a large number of roles there. But in case we go for an offensive operation they may not be able to fit in there,” he said.