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Army chief says admission of women to NDA ‘not a big deal’, joint training has raised standards

Common training for men and women officers at the Officer Training Academy, Chennai, which Gen. Naravane himself instituted in 2017-18, has led to improved standards, he said.

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New Delhi: Emphasising that the upcoming admission of 19 women candidates to the National Defence Academy (NDA) for the first time in June this year is “not a big deal”, Army chief General M.M. Naravane Wednesday hinted that the training criteria would be the same for men and women.

The Army chief also said common training for both men and women officers at the Officer Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, has ensured “all-around improvement in standard”.

Gen. Naravane said he had witnessed joint training when he visited the Bangladesh Military Academy, equivalent to India’s NDA. The Bangladeshi commandant had said that, other than separate accommodation, everything else was the same, including physical training and endurance tests.

“When I came back, as GOC ARTRAC (head of Army Training Command), I knew that the training was done separately. The first order I passed was that all training at OTA Chennai will be combined. Apart from the staying part, all training is together,” he said. Gen. Naravane served as GOC ARTRAC from December 2017 to September 2018.

Gen. Naravane said this has led to great improvement in standards. “Men candidates who were shamming are now trying to impress everyone else. Lady cadets are also trying to match the standard of men. It has led to an all-around improvement,” he said while responding to a question at his annual press conference ahead of Army Day on 15 January.

He said the Army is fully prepared to induct women cadets to the NDA.

“Issue of admitting women cadets to NDA is actually not a big deal. We have had lady cadets in OTA Chennai for quite long now. We are fully conversant with what are the requirements when it comes to training our budding women cadets and budding officers. We are aware of the hygiene and sanitary requirements which are gender-specific. It is only the NDA which is now being opened,” he said.

In June this year, the first 19 women cadets will join the NDA, after the government greenlit their admission following the Supreme Court’s intervention

Of the 8,009 candidates who cleared the written examination for admission to the NDA in this cycle, 1,002 were women.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: As a woman, I never felt out of place in NDA. But there is still much to be achieved


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