New Delhi: Enhancing representation of women in armed forces, Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday said the government has taken a "historic" decision to induct women in the military police.
"To improve representation of women in our armed forces Smt@nsitharaman takes a historic decision to induct women for the first time in PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank) role in Corps of Military Police. The women will be inducted in graded manner to eventually comprise 20% of total Corps of Military Police," official handle of the Defence Minister tweeted.
About the role of women in their new posting, it was clarified that the women would be deployed as investigating officers to probe cases of rape, molestation and thefts.
The women officers would be deployed in military operations of nature where Army needs assistance from police organisations. They would assist civil police/administration for evacuation in forward villages during hostilities as well as crowd control of refugees compromising women and children.
These women officer would also be given role in searching/frisking of women during cordon and search operations/check posts; ceremonial and policing duties like maintaining military discipline; and manning the prisoner of war camps.
Sitharaman, India's first full-time woman Defence Minister, in May last year had said that the government was working "seriously" to have women in combat uniforms.
Women in combat roles in the armed forces has been a long pending demand.
Then President Pranab Mukherjee in February 2016 announced that women will be allowed to take up combat roles to remove gender disparity in one of the world's most male-dominated professions.
The Indian Air Force in July last year inducted three women - Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth - as the first female fighter pilots.
The Indian Navy has also offered permanent commission to women officers. In 2016, it started with a modest group of seven and vowed to expand the numbers.