NEW DELHI, Saturday, February 08, 2020 (BBC/WNP): The Indian government has maintained before the Supreme Court that male soldiers of the country’s armed forces are not “yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command”.
It also said that women are not fit to be given ground combat roles in the country’s armed forces, BBC reported.
Last month, the apex court pushed the government to consider lifting the military’s official ban on women in combat roles – and to give them commanding roles.
However, the government’s lawyer last week told the apex court that male soldiers are not “yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command”.
Then there were the “challenges of confinement, motherhood and childcare,” he added.
Women are still not allowed to serve in infantry and the armoured corps in the Indian Army. According to 2019 figures, women comprise only 3.8% of the world’s second-largest army.
In 2018, former army chief and the current Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat told a news agency that there weren’t any women soldiers serving in front line combat positions because “a woman would feel uncomfortable at the front line”.
He said maternity leave was an issue, women need more privacy and protection, and that India was not yet ready to accept “body bags of women” killed in combat.
Rawat also said that women need to be “cocooned” from the eyes of subordinate soldiers. Rawat’s comments had sparked considerable outrage.