Breaking the male bastion in the five decade-old Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the government has approved recruitment of young women as ‘combat officers’ in the second largest border guarding force.
The women officers, after induction, will have an opportunity to serve in far-flung border locations of the force which secures ‘open’ and important Indian frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan.
Young women under and up to the age of 25 years will be recruited as direct entry officers in the rank of Assistant Commandants (ACs) and according to sources in the Union Home Ministry, the force will have the trained women officers on ground by late 2015.
Till now, women could only don the combat uniform in the officer cadre in three other central security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force and the Border Security Force.
However, women will still not be inducted as officers in the third border guarding force of the country- the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force-deployed along the China border.
The SSB, in 2007, was the first to recruit women in junior ranks of Constables but since then, the contingents were being commanded by male officers and hence a desire was felt to have women officers in the paramilitary which has close to 1,400 women personnel in ‘khaki’ at present.