Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated on Thursday that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi not only governed the country for a lot of years, but also during times of war, in an apparent allusion to her role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
The defence minister mentioned Rani Laxmi Bai and former president Pratibha Patil in an address to a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference on the role of women in the armed forces, and said India has a beneficial experience in harnessing women’s potential in national development.
Although it is appropriate to consider the role of women in the military services, Singh believes that their wider involvement in other aspects of security is equally important.
Referring to women’s role in the Navy, he said from humble beginnings in the Air Traffic Control in 1993, the women officers graduated to being pilots of maritime reconnaissance aircraft in 2016 and are now being appointed onboard warships since last year.
“The Indian Coast Guard has been employing women officers in combat roles, which include pilots, observers and aviation support services. In the Indian Air Force, women are inducted in all roles, including combat and support roles,” Singh said.