New Delhi: Army Chief General M M Naravane on Thursday, February 20 said the force has been championing gender equality and the Supreme Court order granting permanent commission to women officers will give it a lot of clarity moving forward. The Supreme Court on Monday had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission and command postings. "Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting women officers as early as in 1993," Gen Naravane told reporters. Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Centre and School, he said. "The Supreme Court's decision is a welcome one as it brings out a sense of clarity and purpose to gainfully employ officers for better efficiency of the organization. I must assure that everybody in the Indian Army including women officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the nation as also progress in their careers," he said hailing the verdict as enabling. "Letters are being sent to women officers asking whether they will prefer permanent commissioning," the Army chief said. Speaking on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Naravane said terror incidents have seen a downturn and the Army is maintaining pressure on terror groups. There is an external dimension to the decrease in cross-border terrorism, he said, in an oblique reference to the ongoing Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary. "Pakistan may have to rethink strategy as even China realized they cannot back their all-weather friend all the time," the Army chief said on the FATF plenary. A sub-group of the global terror financing watchdog FATF on Tuesday recommended continuation of Pakistan in the 'Grey List' for its failure to check terror funding. When asked about the health condition of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the army chief only said that security forces are geared up to take care of any situation. On the proposed creation of a theatre command exclusively for J&K, he said that there will be detailed discussions before anything is finalized.
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