The Indian Coast Guard has become the first ever force to deploy women in combat roles. The women’s combat group will guard the borders with Pakistan onboard ships that patrol the country’s maritime zone near the area.
“These officers have been posted onboard the Air Cushion Vehicles, popularly known as hovercrafts, in the Coast Guard and have been trained to handle all types of situations, including interception of suspicious activity boats like the MV Kuber in which terrorists carried out the 26/11 terror attacks,” Coast Guard officers told Mail Today.
In total, four women — namely assistant commandants Anuradha Shukla, Sneha Kathyat, Shirin Chandran and Vasundhara Chouksey — have been deployed in the coastal areas bordering Pakistan and Bangladesh, including Jakhau in Gujarat and Haldia in West Bengal.
Not many countries usually deploy women in combat roles in the Coast Guard but they do have women performing other roles in this department. India has now joined the elite group of Australia, Germany, Israel and the United States to allow women in combat role in the Coast Guard.
There is a special training through which women are taught to handle all missions under the Coast Guard charter, including boarding suspicious vessels, chasing such boats in the high seas or catching contraband smugglers there, they said. The women started training by the Indian Coast Guard about a year ago at its base at Mandapam with four female officers, all assistant commandants.
“We are intensely passionate about true inclusiveness and empowerment of lady officers. While the Coast Guard celebrates four decades, as part of our commitment, we have appointed these lady officers in combat roles,” said the Coast Guard director general Rajendra Singh when asked him about the deployment of women officers on these hovercrafts.
Women officers are expected to do the same tasks as their male counterparts in the roles of senior male officers and sailors deployed on the hovercrafts. Currently, there are about 18 hovercrafts serving in the Coast Guard, attached to units in Okha and Jakhua in Gujarat, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Mandapam in Tamil Nadu, and Haldia in West Bengal.
The training of the women officers began last year when PM Narendra Modi met military commanders and requested them to give female officers combat roles and let them have more responsibilities in the forces.
Until now, only Air Force had inducted women officers in combat roles but that has been surpassed by the Coast Guard as they have actually deployed women in the frontline.
Picture credit- India Today