Centre for gender parity in armed forces: Parrikar

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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Satuday asserted that it was the endeavour of the Centre to bring gender parity in the Armed Forces. However, he said he would be discussing the nitty-gritty with the service chiefs before taking step forward.
“Any move in the direction of ushering in gender parity has to be a smooth affair. It cannot be a forced operation,” he told presspersons after reviewing an impressive Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal near here on Saturday. He asserted that ‘step by step’, total gender parity would be achieved. Presenting ‘wings and brevets’ to 129 Cadets, including 22 women here at the parade, he officially commissioned them into service as Flying Officers. “It is a golden day and should be opening up for more women to join the armed forces,” he said, referring to the three Cadets – Avani Chaturvedi, Bhavana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who became the country’s first women fighter pilots.
Expressing the hope that more women would volunteer for combat duties, he said it was a challenge when it came to having the required women-friendly infrastructure in place. Citing an example, he said the women would need separate hostels and washrooms and a host of related facilities. For now, the government was going ahead with a need-based approach, he stated.
Speaking to presspersons later, Parrikar said the endeavour of the Centre was to usher in gender parity in the Armed Forces. However, he said that a completely different set of infrastructure was required to be put in place and that would take some time. As of now, he said they were going ahead with a need-based approach. As the first women in a combat role, we chose the best, he said.

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