New Delhi: The Indian Navy is looking at opening all its branches for women from next year, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar said on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference a day ahead of the Navy Day, Admiral Kumar also said that the first batch of around 3,000 ‘Agniveers’ has been inducted and it included 341 women.
In December last year, Navy officials said 28 women officers were deployed on board around 15 frontline warships, including aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, and the number is set to go up.
“The first batch of Agniveers have already reported. About 3,000 Agniveers have joined out of which 341 are women. This is a landmark event for us because for the first time, the Navy is inducting women sailors. We have been inducting women officers for about the last 16-17 years, but this is for the first time that we are inducting women sailors,” Admiral Kumar said.
He said the Navy will open all its branches to women officers from next year.
“Come next year, we are looking at women officers being inducted across all branches and not just seven or eight branches that they are restricted to as of today. Next year onwards, all branches will be opened for women officers as well,” the Navy Chief said.
The Navy celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate its daring attack on the Karachi harbour and its decisive victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
“It has been our effort to constantly query and challenge the ‘status-quo’ to ensure that the Navy remains on an aspirational and dynamic trajectory into the future,” the Chief of Naval Staff said.
He said that while the past year has been “operationally busy and satisfying” for the Navy, it has also been transformational in many ways.
“The most notable aspect was commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on September 2. Without a doubt, it was a seminal event in the history of the nation and the Navy,” he said.
He said INS Vikrant’s commissioning was a manifestation of sustained efforts of generations of naval leadership, planners, designers, yard workers and industry partners.
“The ship will remain the torch bearer of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, inspiring our future generations towards self-reliance,” Admiral Kumar said.
He said that at the same time, Vikrant’s commissioning was also marked by another momentous change, as the Navy adopted a new Naval Ensign.
“This change, reflecting the larger National intent to shed colonial vestiges, was brought about in a swift and decisive manner reflecting the Navy’s organisational agility and responsiveness,” the Navy Chief said.