Indian navy will enrol women sailors for the first time this year under the newly announced Agnipath Scheme. The move will pave way for them to be able to be deployed on warships in future.
Navy is yet to finalise the final number of women among the 3000 naval Agniveers that it will induct in 2022. However, according to reports, this number may be 10-20% of the first batch, that is scheduled to start training at INS Chilka, the premier basic training establishment for sailors of the Indian Navy, on November 21.
“The Agnipath scheme in the Navy will be gender-neutral. As we speak, 30 women officers are sailing on board frontline warships. We have decided that the time has come to recruit women sailors as well, and in all trades which will include women who willgo to sea,” informed Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi.
Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi also conveyed that though, the exact percentage of women force has not been finalised yet, arrangements are being made at INS Chilka for accomodating them.
Armed forces had been inducting women into the 14-lakh strong military forces since 1990s but only at officer ranks. This changed in 2019-20 where from the Indian Army began recruiting women in other ranks for the first time. As a result of this, 100 women jawans are presently Corps of Military Police (CMP).
Last year, reportedly, four women officers were deployed on warships by the Indian Navy for the first time in 23 years – two on INS Vikramaditya and two on fleet tanker INS Shakti. This number has reportedly increased to 30. Recruitment of 199 more CMP women is on hold since last two years due to COVID-19 outbreak. Government of India has plans to have 1700 women soldiers by 2036, in batches of 100 recruits per year.