NDA willing to open doors to women

May 31st, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by admin  

Khadakwasla (Maharashtra), May 31 (IANS) The National Defence Academy (NDA), that trains male cadets to eventually serve as officers in the Indian defence forces, has welcomed the idea of opening its doors to women. “If asked, the NDA is ready for training women cadets. After a decision is taken by the authorities we will need some time to build the necessary infrastructure,” NDA commandant Air Marshal T.S.Randhawa told reporters on the sidelines of the passing out parade of the 114th course that also marked the 60th anniversary of the institution.

The Indian Army has mooted the proposal of granting permanent commissions to women in branches like that of the judge advocate general (JAG) and the education corps to help meet the shortage of officers in the armed forces. Women presently are granted permanent commissions only in the medical branch of the armed forces. They are also granted short service commissions in the non-combatant arms of the military.

The views of the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force will now be sought on the proposal that came in response to demands from various women’s groups. A joint proposal will then be forwarded to the defence ministry, following which it will be placed before the cabinet for a final decision.

While the NDA trains only male cadets, women are trained at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

“We do not have any problem with women cadets around. But yes it may lead to a change in the way we behave,” said a gentleman cadet as he sat in the cafeteria celebrating the birthday of one of his juniors.

Randhawa said: “We have been focussing on gender sensitivity among the cadets and have been undertaking many personality development programmes in this regard.”

Currently, 5,137 women officers serve in the armed forces. They include 4,101 in the army, 784 in the air force and 252 in the navy.

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