The Indian Navy has decided to admit women into its elite special forces, allowing them to serve as commandos for the first time in any of the three defense services, senior officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday, Hindustan Times reported.
The army, navy, and air force special forces are made up of some of the strongest soldiers who go through rigorous training, are capable of staging a rapid and stealthy response in the prohibited territories and have thus far been a male preserve.
“Women in the navy can now become marine commandos (Marcos) if they choose to and meet the criteria. It’s truly a watershed in India’s military history. But no one is directly assigned to special forces units. People have to volunteer for it,” an unnamed senior naval official was reported saying by Hindustan Times.
According to a second official, the option of volunteering to become Marcos will be available to both female officers and sailors who will join the service as Agniveers next year.
The Marcos have been trained for a variety of tasks and can operate on land, sea, and air.
They can even fight terrorists in a maritime setting and have been used in counter-terrorism operations in Kashmir’s Wular lake area.
Women are now welcome in all branches of the navy, from special operations to aviation to vessel duties.