3 service chiefs to check infra at NDA for women
The three service chiefs are set to visit the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune on Friday to review facilities and arrangements for women cadets, officials familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The visit was planned earlier this month, they added.
In an interim order on Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to allow women to take the next entrance exam for NDA, thus far a male preserve. The entry of women will require the creation of new infrastructure and separate physical training standards, as reported by HT on Thursday.
The SC’s order making women eligible to join NDA, which was formally inaugurated 66 years ago, came almost three decades after women were allowed to serve in select branches of the three services as short-service commission officers, and 18 months after it ruled that women officers who joined the Indian Army through SSC were entitled to permanent commission and command roles.
The officials cited above said that the discussion on induction of women through NDA was ongoing and supported by the military leadership. Additional infrastructure to provide for women cadets was approved earlier and should come up in a phased manner, they said.
To be sure, the Centre opposed allowing women into NDA and argued that there were other avenues open to them to enter the defence services. It wasn’t immediately clear why the State took this line at a time when NDA was already preparing to induct women.
The court said that the policy restricting women’s entry into NDA was based on “gender discrimination” and came down hard on what it termed the army’s mindset in providing equal opportunities to women.