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Bipin Rawat lists maternity leave, responsibilities towards children as reasons why army isn't ready for women in combat roles

Indian Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat on Saturday said the military in India may not be ready at the moment for women to take up combat roles, citing a number of reasons for his statement. Among these, he mentioned the possibility of seeking maternity leave and their responsibilities towards children.

Speaking about the possibility of a woman commanding officer in the army seeking maternity leave, Rawat said during an interview with News18: "Do I put a restriction on her saying that in that command tenure, you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, a ruckus will be created."

On facilities for women to change their clothes while on duty, Rawat said the orders are to give a woman a separate hut and to "cocoon her separately". He further remarked, "She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her."

 Bipin Rawat lists maternity leave, responsibilities towards children as reasons why army isnt ready for women in combat roles

File image of army chief General Bipin Rawat. PTI

Rawat also gave an example of a woman dying in service. "She has a kid of two years. He is in Delhi or Chandigarh, and her parents are taking care of the baby. So what I am saying is, now do you think we are ready for this?"

Meanwhile, at an event in Hyderabad, army chief of staff said that the Indian Army had proposed to increase the intake of women in more non-combat roles, such as interpreters and cyber specialists. The army was also mulling over recruiting women for the military police, he told reporters on the sidelines of the combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

"We are saying we are going to increase the intake (of women in non-combat roles). Women are already there in the army. We are now going to take them more into some other cadres gradually," he said.

In November, speaking on the sidelines of the Passing Out Parade of the 135th course at the National Defence Academy in Pune, Rawat had said the Indian Army was not ready yet for women in combat roles.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 15, 2018 22:29:20 IST