Indo-Tibetan Border Police is recruiting over 200 women constables for its combat ranks this Friday at Ramgarh, 25 km from here.

This is the first time women are being recruited into combat ranks of the force which guards the country’s borders with China, besides handling crucial international security assignments.

After being selected from all over the country and trained for 44 weeks, the young ladies have mastered weapon handling and physical endurance training and will be put on security duties soon.

Looking forward to a life in the armed force, 21-year-old Geeta from Arunachal Pradesh says, “After convincing my family and completing the training, I have already covered the most difficult part. Now they are very proud of me and many more girls from my town want to follow in my footsteps and serve the country.”

Girls from rural areas of Punjab and Haryana hope their move will help more girls consider a career in the armed forces. “I hope I can serve my country, but more importantly I want more girls from my village to come forward to do what I have done,” says Savita Devi, mother of a three-year-old girl, hailing from Mukhaula village near Bhiwani in Haryana.

Soma, who hails from Chhattisgarh, says her family encouraged her to join the force and never questioned her abilities as a soldier. “We have gone through the same training that men do. I will be proud to share the same responsibilities too.”

Subedar Major Gyan Singh, who supervised the special training, says: “They may look frail but they are very tough and can endure physical stress just as trained men do. Skills of mountaineering and other basic special skills the ITBP is acclaimed for have been imparted to them.”

These women will be posted on VVIP security duties and will also be deployed at the Sikkim and Ladakh frontiers. They will also assist in providing security to the pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra which will solve the problem of escorting women on the yatra. Some of them will be pressed into service in the ongoing anti-Maoist operations in naxal-infested States like Chhattisgarh.