New Delhi, Feb 5: The army has celebrated its lady officer's special 'Nari Shakti' Republic Day parade. But whether that is just an eye-wash is something that they know well. Ironically, while the women represented the Army, Navy and the Airforce at the parade, which had US President Obama as the chief guest, the Army is yet to confer them combat roles in the frontline.
Restrictions on frontline combat deployment will continue,'' a senior defence ministry official said.
In the first of its kind, the three services-the army, navy and the air force- were represented by all-women marching contingent at the Republic Day parade. IN fact, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur had led the tri-service guard of honour for a visiting head of state when Obama was given a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh had on January 27 hosted a reception in honour of lady officers and commended them. He said,"We are working on career progression plans for them. Their contribution is immense."
The official further added,"The army is of the view that its women officers cannot be enrolled into its fighting arms like the infantry and the artillery just yet. Given the army's involvement in counter-insurgency operations, it feels the terrain and working conditions are not conducive for women, either in the jungles of the northeast or in insurgency areas like Kashmir.'
Following this move, several lady officers have taken the Defence to court and some have also quit. "Nari Shakti is not just about us marching on the Rajpath. We are not dolls in uniform. Don't just pay lip service," said an Army officer under anonymity who quit the forces.