Independence Day special: Celebrating these incredible women in the Armed Forces

In the past few years, India has been crushing gender barriers in its armed forces by inducing women to serve in ground combat positions, on-board submarines, and even tank units.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, August 09, 2022, 03:44 PM IST
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In the past few years, India has been crushing gender barriers in its armed forces by inducing women to serve in ground combat positions, on-board submarines, and even tank units.

It was in February 2016, then-President Pranab Mukherjee announced that women will finally be allowed to take up combat roles in all sections of the Indian armed forces. This Independence Day, let us celebrate these incredible women who are serving the country and breaking the barriers.

Punita Arora

Punita Arora is the first woman in India to wear the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces, as well as the rank of Vice Admiral of Indian Navy. Initially, she was the commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College in 2004, the first woman at the helm of the institute.

She also co-ordinated medical research for the armed forces as Additional Director-General of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). She moved from the Army to the Navy as the AFMS has a common pool allowing officers to migrate from one service to another, further depending on the requirement.

Punita Arora is the first woman in India to wear the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces, as well as the rank of Vice Admiral of Indian Navy.

Punita Arora is the first woman in India to wear the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces, as well as the rank of Vice Admiral of Indian Navy. | Facebook/Indian Air Force Fans

Mitali Madhumita

Lt Col Mitali Madhumita, in February 2011, became the country's first female officer to receive the Sena Medal for gallantry, which is a decoration given to soldiers for exemplary courage during J&K operations and the northeast.

Madhumita also led the army's English Language Training Team in Kabul, only to become the first officer to reach the Indian embassy in Kabil that was attacked by suicide bombers in February 2010.

Despite being unarmed, she ran close to 2 km to reach the spot and personally extricated over 19 officers of the Army training team who were buried beneath the rubble and immediately rushed them to hospital.

Mitali Madhumita

Mitali Madhumita | Twitter/@IndiaHistorypic

Priya Jhingan

Priya Jhingan enrolled as 001, the first lady cadet to join the Indian Army in September 1992. Being a law graduate, Jhingan always wished to join the army.

It was in 1992, she penned a letter to the Army Chief himself, asking to let women in. A year later, he did and Jhingan along with other 24 new female recruits began their journey.

When she retired, in her speech, she said, "It's a dream I have lived every day for the last ten years."

Anjana Bhaduria

Anjana Bhaduria is the first woman to win a gold medal in the Indian Army. She completed her MSC, however, was always dreamed of becoming an Army officer. After seeing an advertisement for the induction of lady officer, Bhaduria applied into the army through the Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES) and was accepted into the first-ever batch of women cadets in the Indian Army in 1992.

She excelled in every field during the training and was also chosen for the gold medal from a batch that comprised both men and women. She served with the Indian Army for ten years.

Sophia Qureshi

Lt Col Sophia Qureshi of the Corps of Signals has scripted history when she achieved the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead a training contingent of the Indian Army at Force 18, the ASEAN Plus multinational field training exercise held in the year 2016.

Qureshi was also the only woman officer Contingent Commander among other ASEAN Plus contingents present for the exercise. Qureshi was also selected from a pool of peacekeeping trainers to lead the Indian contingent.

Ganeve Lalji

Lt Ganeve Lalji, a young intelligence officer, became the first woman to be appointed as a key aide to an Army Commander. Being a third generation Army officer, Lalji was commissioned in the Corps of Military intelligence in the year 2011. She has recorded numerous achievements during her training course at Pune's army school. She was shortlisted from 350 women officers.

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