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Policy decision on combat role for women soon: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that his ministry was examining how a combat role can be assigned to the women in the armed forces, in line with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on gender sensitivity.

“My ministry is working out (how) to assign combat role for women in the armed forces, and a policy decision will soon be made,” Parrikar said, addressing a gathering of retired army officers at Welingkar Institute of Management.

Earlier this week, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said the Indian Air Force had moved a proposal to induct women as fighter aircraft pilots.

“It is extremely unfortunate that our Prime Minister’s initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Selfie With Daughter are not being taken seriously by a few people, especially so-called secular minded people,” Parrikar said.

“When our PM emphasises Selfie with Daughter, it does not only address the issue of gender equality but also the disorder of gender insensitivity prevailing in the current form of society in a larger context,” he said.

Parrikar was in the city to pay tribute to late Lt Dilip Gupte on his 50th death anniversary. Gupte died at a young age of 23 in Operation Jura Bridge on October 11, 1965 during the Indo-Pak war.

Praising the people of Maharashtra for their contribution to the nation, Parrikar said, “The people who draw inspiration from the legendary Shivaji Maharaj can never be behind (in serving the country) and this is why a large number of armymen and officers hail from Kolhapur, Satara, Karad, etc. (in the state).”

On a personal note, Parrikar said even after entering politics he never thought that he, “a peace-loving person by nature”, would become the defence minister, but “like everyone, I too had no control over my destiny.”

“Every Goan is a peace-loving person. If a Goan indulges in skirmish, then there is a strong possibility that he may not be originally from Goa. But I am a true Goan and peace-loving person by nature. But my fate has brought me here as Defence Minister, which I am trying my best to deliver,’ he said.

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