The wife of a decorated army commando who died fighting infiltrators in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara last November is set to join the force after the government relaxed the selection test’s age criterion, impressed by her resolve.
Swati Mahadik – wife of para-commando Colonel Santosh Mahadik – expressed a desire to join the army at her husband’s cremation and applied as a special case. Her grit prompted defence minister Manohar Parrikar to grant her an age criterion exemption to appear in the Services Selection Board (SSB) test on the recommendation of army chief Dalbir Singh, sources said. She cleared the medical examination on Monday after having passed the tough five-tier SSB test for selection to the Officer’s Training Academy in Chennai last week, sources told HT.
If things go as planned, the 38-year-old will join the army as a commissioned officer next year.
Swati Mahadik refused to comment but a source in the army confirmed the development.
“She joined me in March with the reference of a number of officers to train for the selection,” said Lt Col Pradeep Brahmankar (retd), who runs Apex Careers, a training academy in Pune for military aspirants. “She improved to a great extent within a month.”
Her husband Santosh Mahadik, originally a Special Forces officer from 21 Para and a Sena medal recipient, was commanding the counter-insurgency unit 41 Rashtriya Rifles when he died in an ambush near the Line of Control in Kupwara last November.
Col Mahadik and his men were combing the forests near the LOC for infiltrating militants when they were ambushed on November 17, 2015. He was cremated in his village in Maharashtra’s Satara with full military honours and awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously on Republic Day this year.