All-women contingent of Indian army will march for the first time on 2015 Republic Day (RD) parade. The chief guest of 2015 Republic Day will be the US President Barack Obama.
The decision to have all-women contingent was taken by the Indian armed forces in the first week of January 2015 following an order from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to display Nari Shakti as a theme for the 2015 RD Parade.
The all-women contingent would comprise of 150-odd women army officers who will give a salute to the President of India.
Women and Indian Armed forces
In 1992 for the first time, Indian Army allowed women as officers. They were introduced as Special Entry Group for four years, which extended up to 14 years in 2004.
However, the extended service cannot promote a woman officer up to the rank of a Colonel, which is mandatory to be the commanding officer of the unit.
At present, women can join the army as short service commission officers and get posted in less-critical branches such as Judge Advocate General Branch, Army Medical Corps and Military Nursing Service.
In 2012, for the first time in history of RD parade, the Indian Air Force contingent was led by women. Flight Lieutenant Sneha Shekhawat from Sikar in Rajasthan led the IAF contingent at the 63rd Republic Day parade.
Recently in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government cleared the Indian Army’s proposal to offer permanent commission to women officers. With this women will get bigger role in units like Intelligence Corps, Signals Corps, Ordinance Corps, Army Service Corps and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps.
However, still women in Indian armed forces are not allowed into combat fields unlike the countries like the US, Israel, Australia, Sri Lanka and Sweden, where women officers serve in combat roles.