‘Women have been part of the Army for 30 years’

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision on women being eligible for permanent commission, Lieutenant General C.P. Mohanty, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Southern Command, said on Thursday, “Women have been part of the Army for 30 years now. There are parameters for everyone joining the Army. They have to meet certain fitness criteria, irrespective of their gender.”

Speaking at an investiture ceremony of the Southern Command at Gateway of India, Lt. Gen. Mohanty said, “A screening committee decides every promotion — from that of a Lieutenant Colonel to a Colonel.”

Stating that the scrapping of Article 370 was a positive step towards reduced insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir, Lt. Gen. Mohanty said, “This is a big step towards fighting terrorism in J&K. But there are other factors like better integration and coordination among the forces to thank as well.”

Lt. Gen. Mohanty also presented gallantry awards and medals for distinguished service to 51 Army personnel. Two awards were conferred upon record officers for keeping track of soldiers and 21 units of the command were awarded the ‘Southern Army Commander’s Unit citation’ for their outstanding contributions.

Tales of bravery

Among the 24 personnel who received gallantry awards was Col. Dhanajay Madhav Bhosle, who was conferred the Vishisht Seva Medal (gallantry award) for recovering an advanced light helicopter that crashed in Siachen glacier in January 2018. Col. Bhosle led the operation efficiently under extreme conditions at an altitude of 16,700 feet and flew the helicopter himself.

Sepoy Sunil Kumar from 20 JAT regiment also received a Sena Medal (gallantry). He was awarded for neutralising a terrorist on 28th September, 2018, despite sustaining injuries.

The Indian Army organises investiture ceremonies for each regional command at nominated locations every year. Mumbai played host to the ceremony after a gap of five years.

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