In a first, and what can be termed a breakthrough move, the Ministry of Defence has decided to induct women as sailors in the Indian Navy, according to reports.   

To be enrolled as non-officer cadre

According to reports, the move was by suggested by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Navy chief Sunil Lanba has readily accepted this proposal. In 2015, the government had also approved induction of women as fighter pilots in Indian Air Force. This move made Indian Air Force the first and the only armed force in India to put women in combat roles.

The top commanders contemplated on the enrolment of women as sailors in the Navy during a three-day conference. The commanders even looked at them being deployed as “sea going cadres” in the near future, official sources said.

The Defence Minister, in her address to the top naval brass at the Naval Commanders Conference, stressed on the importance of encouraging greater enrolment of women in the Navy.

“The defence minister urged the Navy to give an impetus to the enrolment of women in the Navy. To this, the Navy chief (Sunil Lanba) confirmed that enrolment of women in the sailor rank was one of the agendas in the conference. Inclusion of women as sea going cadres is also being looked at in the near future,” the sources said.

At present, women are deployed in different branches of the Navy but are not sent to sea. They currently work as observers in Navy’s IL-38 and P-8i reconnaissance aircraft.

There are over 639 women personnel in Navy. The number includes 148 medical officers and two dental officers

Recently, a six-member women crew of the INSV Tarini successfully circumnavigated the globe. Tarini’s all-woman crew began the voyage in September 2017. They arrived in Panaji, Goa, on May 21, 2018, after successfully circumnavigating the globe. They also set a record by becoming the first-ever all-women crew to complete circumnavigation. These women faced some extremely challenging situations during the expedition.

The circumnavigation journey was covered with stopovers at four ports — Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa) over a period of 254 days.

Also Read: All-Women Crew Of INSV Tarini Receives Tenzing Norgay Award

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