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

Following traditions: The investiture ceremony was held in Mumbai after a gap of five years, on Thursday.

Following traditions: The investiture ceremony was held in Mumbai after a gap of five years, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Southern Command chief honours 51 Army personnel

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.

Lt. Gen. Mohanty said the ceremony was all the more special since the soldiers were awarded for their bravery just a day after Shiv Jayanti. “Yesterday marked the 390th birthday of Shivaji Maharaj who was the father of guerilla warfare. We chose this venue of Gateway of India as it is of particular significance, being just adjacent to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Eleven years ago, Mumbaikars showed resilience and strength in battling the deadly terror attack here and the city rose to be a safe haven again.”

The GOC-in-C said the Indian Army is presently at the cusp of modernisation and must keep pace with the armies of the world to progress wholeheartedly.

Providing relief

In 2019, more than 3,000 troops of the Southern Command carried out flood relief operations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Rajasthan.

In conjunction with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and other civil disaster relief organisations, rescued and evacuated over 40,000 people to safety, Lt. Gen. Mohanty said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:48:01 PM |

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