A huge debate over the role of women in the Indian Army has been in the headlines for the past few months. Around a month ago, a disturbing remark was made by the Centre about how male soldiers were not ready to accept orders from female officers. Then, the apex court ruled on February 17 that women should be allowed in commanding positions and receive permanent commissions. Now, just a few days after the landmark order by the top court, a rare feat has been achieved by a woman in the Indian Army. Madhuri Kanitkar, a former Major General, has become the third woman in the country to hold a lieutenant general rank.
Kanitkar's husband Rajiv, also a Lieutenant General, recently retired from the army and together they make the first couple in the armed forces to reach this rank.
Now, a little about Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar, who has served in the Indian military for over 37 years. She is the former dean of Armed Forces Medical College, Pune and has been posted to Headquarters, Integrated Defence Staff under the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Besides that, she is also one of the first women to have set up the first paediatric nephrology unit in the Army Medical Corps. She completed her training in paediatric nephrology at AIIMS. Kanitkar is also a member of the Prime Minister’s scientific and technical advisory board.
Padmavathy Bandopadhyay was the second woman to hold the second-highest title in the Indian Army while Punita Arora was the first one.
At a time when women need more participation in the defence forces of India, Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar is setting an example for the younger generation. And why is it the need of the hour? Because, in 2014, the Indian Air Force had just 8.5 per cent women, the Navy had 2.8 per cent and the Army had just 3 per cent women. These figures come as a shock in a country which has 48% female population. With a hope for change, here's a big congratulations to Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar.
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