New Delhi: In a historic first, the Indian Army has inducted five women officers into its Regiment of Artillery and three of them have been posted to frontline formations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, military sources said on Saturday.
Lt Mehak Saini, Lt Sakshi Dubey, Lt Aditi Yadav, Lt Pious Mudgil and Lt Akanksha have joined the Army’s premier artillery units after successfully completing their training at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai.
Out of the five women officers, three are posted to units deployed along the borders with China and the other two in “challenging locations” near the frontier with Pakistan, the sources said.
The Regiment of Artillery is a major combat support arm and it has around 280 units that handle various gun systems including Bofors howitzers, Dhanush, M-777 howitzers and K-9 Vajra self-propelled guns.
The sources said the young women officers are being posted to all types of key artillery units, where they will get adequate training and exposure to handle rockets, field and surveillance and target acquisition (SATA) systems as well as key equipment in challenging conditions.
Lt Saini has been commissioned into a SATA regiment, Lt Dubey and Lt Yadav into field regiments, Lt Mudgil into a medium regiment and Lt Akanksha has been inducted into a rocket regiment, they said.
The commissioning of women officers into the Regiment of Artillery is a testament to the ongoing transformation in the Indian Army, a source said.
In January, Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Pande announced the decision of commissioning women officers into artillery units. The proposal was later approved by the government.
“The Indian Army has expanded the role of women by allowing women officers into the Regiment of Artillery. Five Women Officers have joined the Regiment of Artillery after successful completion of training at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai on April 29,” the source said.
The women officers (WOs)are being provided exactly the same opportunities and challenges as their male counterparts, said an official.
Nineteen male officers have also been commissioned into the artillery units after completion of the training at the OTA. The passing out parade at the OTA took place on Saturday.
“The culmination of the passing out parade was the moment of commissioning, when the young women cadets took the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and received their rank insignia, signifying their entry into the Regiment of Artillery,” the official said.
The ceremony was attended by senior military officials including Lt Gen Adosh Kumar, Colonel Commandant and Director General of Artillery (Designate), other dignitaries and family members of the newly commissioned officers.
“This significant event marked a major milestone in the journey of women officers in the Indian Army, who have been breaking barriers to serve their country with valour and distinction,” the official cited above said.
In a significant move, the Army in 2019 began the process of inducting women into the military police.
The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and army establishments, preventing breaches of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining the movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, and extending aid to civil police whenever required.
In January, Captain Shiva Chauhan from the Army’s Corps of Engineers was posted at a frontline post in Siachen Glacier, in the first such operational deployment of a woman Army officer at the world’s highest battlefield.