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  India   All India  14 Jan 2017  Combat role for women has challenges: Bipin Rawat

Combat role for women has challenges: Bipin Rawat

Published : Jan 14, 2017, 1:10 am IST
Updated : Jan 14, 2017, 6:27 am IST

Rawat points out logistical difficulties for women officers in Army.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat gestures during the Army's annual press conference in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
 Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat gestures during the Army's annual press conference in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Indicating that any direct combat role for women officers in the Army would meet with logistical difficulties, Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said that equal opportunities also means equal responsibilities and pointed to certain difficulties like lack of toilets in rugged terrain during patrols. He said it’s upto women to decide if they are willing to join men in frontline combat role without separate and additional facilities.

He mentioned that when out on tanks, the men sleep under the tank during the night with no separate facility. Noting that women are present in combat arms of the Army like the Corps of Signals, Engineers and the Army Air Defence wing, except on the frontlines, Gen. Rawat pointed out that there are no toilet facilities when they go out on patrol. “You have to see society as whole. I have said that if we induct women into combat role, they will have to share equal responsibility like their male counterparts because equal opportunity must come with equal responsibility. Which means that they will have to perform exactly the same task,” he said.

Giving the example of soldiers in tanks, he said there is a crew of three personnel in each of them and when they go out, or are in a combat, they just sleep under the tank. “The three men crew have a stove. They cook and sleep under that tank. That is how they do,” he said, adding there is no toilet facility or separate accommodation given to them. “So, if all three in the tank, if it is one woman or two women and a male, if they are all willing to sleep under the tank and if the women folk are willing to accept it...,” he was quoted by news agencies as saying, citing another example. He said the patrol can be for 20-25 days and the longest one to the border was in Arunachal Pradesh for 35 days. “Now at night, when you halt, all that happens is a blue sheet is pulled out and everybody sleeps under it together. There is no toilet. Everybody gets his bottle, he goes out, God knows where, and he returns after some time. If women are willing to move out in that environment, they themselves need to take a call. Once they take the call, we will address this issue.”

Tags: bipin rawat, arunachal pradesh, army air defence wing
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi