Bipin Rawat addresses a press conference
File photo of Army Chief Bipin Rawat | PTI
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In a series of sexist comments, Indian Army chief Gen. Rawat also talked about maternity leave for women officers and separate huts for them on the frontline.

New Delhi: Weeks after he made controversial remarks that illegal immigrants must be deported from India, Army chief General Bipin Rawat has made a series of sexist comments about women in combat roles.

In an interview to CNN News 18, Rawat said women aren’t ready for combat roles because they have the responsibility of raising kids. He also said that a woman officer on the frontline would need to be cocooned separately in her hut as she might accuse jawans of peeping.

The Army chief also said that a woman officer may not be accepted by jawans, most of whom come from villages.

Rawat also said that a woman commanding officer would not be able to get maternity leave for six months from the Army, but objecting to her leave request would lead to a ruckus.

“Do I put a restriction on her to say that in that command tenure you will not be given maternity leave? If I say that, there will be ruckus created,” he said.

Rawat’s comments come months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 15 August announcement for permanent commission — service of 20 years, depending on eligibility and rank — for women officers.

The move drew some criticism, especially from serving male officers, for it meant that women would be given permanent commission without being recruited in combat roles, which involves being posted in difficult locations.

At present, about 3,700 women serve in the military on Short Service Commission (SSC).

Also read: General Bipin Rawat explains why restructuring the Indian Army is his top priority

Combat roles

While it’s common to see women in combat roles in militaries of other countries, India is yet to induct them in frontline units such as infantry or armoured corps.

Women serve in other capacities in the military, such as engineers, as well as other indirect combat roles, like observers and tactical operators on armed maritime patrol aircraft, among others.

The subject has been widely debated over the years, with the defence forces citing cultural and operational issues in the induction of women in combat roles.

Earlier this month, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that his force has commissioned a study to examine ways to induct women sailors aboard ships.

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21 Comments Share Your Views


  1. This is just ridiculous. I have seen a lady officer in CRPF independently commanding a male company since a year. She stays in same camp where jawans stays. The question of disliking by male counterparts hardly arises as lady officer earns huge respect in male battalion.

  2. Women need be recommended hysterectomy that probably will prevent blood and calcium loss that might help them achieving physical fitness, simultaneously there should be no problems and consequences associated with maternity leaves.
    Women need to get out of their priority family profiles as mom’s, housewives etc.
    Those can’t be prevented from roles they might serve. If you’re preventing women from roles they deserve, it’s clear that you as a whole didn’t yet achieved service standards as a whole.
    Martyrs strengthen the nation. If there are women martyrs those will strengthen their genders as well.
    We as India don’t need dumb population, instead we need genius, fit and strong ones.

  3. If they (women) are ready to share places/rooms/washrooms, and dosen’t give much priority to mere things like changing clothes.

    If they are ready to deal with their physical problems at any cost.

    If at times, they are ready to be brutally treated by the enemy no matter it’s a man/a group of men/or women at the middle of nowhere.

    If they are ready to sacrifice and are willing to take a stand.
    Why not they should be given a chance !

  4. Bipin Rawat should understand that those women who dare to enter into combat roles only will be recruited and they will be ready to face any kind of challenge like Rani Lakshmi Bai and Rani Rudramamba. There is no dearth of valour in women in India since ages. He can’t deny their interests and opportunities with his sexist views which are unbecoming to the highest army officer. Wish he comes out of medieval thinking and utilise the services of women dare devils of India in army.

  5. We are not considering the role for women in combat role. This statement in itself is complete Gen is right till now problem is when he chooses to pepper his statement with sexist comments which were undesirable

  6. Gen.Bipin Rawat is asolutely correct that the women are not meant for combat duties,because of different nature,responsibility and physical body structure .Physically women can not be equal to that of men.

  7. We have generals who talk too much and who speak on issues that do not concern them. The question of women’s access to fighting units is not part of her role. The military authorities may at the very least indicate that the units are not ready. The issue of equal access for men and women is the responsibility of the government and Parliament. A decision taken at this level must be put in place by the military authorities, subject to the reservation indicated above. What does the Minister of Defense think of this position taken by a general officer under his authority? In conclusion, the generals concerned would do better to concentrate on the state of preparation, the state of the equipment and the living conditions of the forces placed under their orders. On this side there are many things to do, and to put if necessary on the public sphere. But here they are very quiet! Why???

  8. For some it may take ages to say truth. General has outrightly spoken it. Deploying women at peaceful posting may reduce chance of men deployed at front line or regorously hard zones to get posting at those area. Means more disgruntled elements!. There may be some exception but in general women can not be warworthy.

  9. I watched the entire interview of General Rawat along with my family where my son is MBBS cadet at AFMC. We find not a single fault in his interview. Have you seen in other advanced countries women serving in Army given combat operations.

  10. Theres nothing Sexist in what he said. Thats Plain Common Sense. Women have some inherent limitations as to their employability in the Armed forces. One simply cannot compromise with National Security for the sake of Political Correctness.

  11. To some extent what Army Chief mentioned is supportable.Present era there arises a craze of feminist views in India that there exists no discriminations between Men and Women but these crazy feminist ideology holders forgets about certain discriminations between two opposite genders which are not human made but natural one.In short example ,- A woman officer or jawan in case falls in the hand of enemy troops then she will definitely be treated as a sex symbol getting abuses and raped resulting in convincing child ( in case of men is there any such chance of becoming pregnant)? Will there be any medical test to prove loss of virginity of a man compared to a woman counterpart?
    Every matters cannot be challenged as feminist ideology worldwide of everything among a man and a woman is same ( no such difference in between the duo) indeed proved to be illogical one .

  12. Gen Rawat is correct in rejecting combat role for women in srmy We are a traditional society in our soldiery which thankfully comes from rural country still steeped in military traditions . We don’t need to westernise these . Gen Rawat too has same background therefore understands this. He is right any opinion that opposes eviction of illegal immigrants must be investigated. We are losing sovereignty to serve globalisation which is anti national .
    Maj Gen APS Chauhan

    • Women on front is not the priority westernization of your said society. It’ll be about military service standards w.r.t. other territories. If you’ve objection points as soldiers coming from villages etc, then those need to pull themselves to military and service requirements. In case those can’t find it suitable they can seek other jobs than military.
      The main flaw is with your pre-assumptions, traditional belief formats that you’re following. That tends to create thick layers on your psychology and mindset. If you’re prioritising your traditional backgrounds you strictly need to change your orientations, whatever class you’re from.
      If military going be defeated in combats after inducting women on front, let it be ( that will be the result of your flaws within basic standards and not of women on front ).
      Though then if you can’t watch them working on front, all you can protest by resigning from your posts.

      Thank you.

  13. Print ! there big difference b/w america and India both have Different culture most army jawns come from village areas. In village all girls are your sister no boy and girl do dating there. When people in village get married the met their wife on sughraat before they not even talk because of this large difference in gender gap the COAS is taking step he is a practical guy he knows what he is doing.

  14. General Rawat sometimes says the right thing, in an infelicitous manner. 2. Brings to mind a story about a king who wanted his palm to be read. The first astrologer shook a little and said, Sire, you will see all your relatives perish before your eyes, for which he was beheaded on the spot. The next chap put on a brave smile and said, Your Majesty, you will be the most long lived person in your extended family …

  15. He says women are not ready. Is he a woman or their representative? He should have said Army is not ready to take them in combat role. Women aren’t ready can only be told by women or their representative.


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