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Women in combat role will create ruckus about peeping, maternity leave: Army Chief


New Delhi, Dec 17: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said there are women officers engaged in exercises like mining and de-mining operations and also manning the air defence system, but cited difficulties in assigning them front-line combat role.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. PTI file photo

He said that in front-line combat, there are risks of officers getting killed.

"See, I am not saying a woman who has children doesn't die. She can also die in a road accident. But in combat, when body bags come back, our country is not ready to see that," Rawat said in an interview to CNN News 18.

"We have women officers as engineers, they are doing mining and demining work. In air defence, they are manning our weapon systems. But we have not put women in front-line combat because what we are engaged in right now is a proxy war, like in Kashmir," he said.

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He also cited logistical reason behind not posting women on the front lines.

"Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her," Rawat said.

Rawat questioned whether a women officer with commanding responsibilities can stay away from her post for long.

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"I am ready, it is not that army is not ready (for combat role for the women). Will she command? Okay, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion.

"Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus," he added.

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