In a first, the Army on Thursday issued an advertisement in newspapers for recruiting women into the Military Police, three months after the government announced that women would be inducted into the force in the "Personnel Below Officer Rank" (PBOR) category. The application window for recruitment of "soldier general duty (Women Military Police)" will be closed on June 8, the Army said in the ad.
"In a historic decision, Modi govt has decided to induct women, for the first time in Personnel Below Officer Rank, in corps of Military Police. It's a huge step towards further empowering women and improving their representation in our armed forces," the BJP had tweeted from its official handle on January 18.
The Corps of Military Police is responsible for preserving "good order and discipline and to prevent breaches of the same by persons serving in or attached to the regular Army", the Army says on its website.
The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war, handling prisoners of war and extending aid to civil police whenever required.
In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that women officers recruited into the armed forces under the Short Service Commission will have the option of taking up Permanent Commission. He had described it as a "gift" to the country's "brave daughters".
However, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said last year that the Army was not ready to have women in combat roles yet.
"It's because appropriate facilities have to be created for them," he said, adding that a comparison with armies of Western countries cannot be made because they are "more open".
Earlier this month, in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry Subhash Bhamre the Army has 3.80 per cent of its work force as women, the Air Force has 13.09 per cent and the Navy six per cent.
(With inputs from agencies)