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October 2021


The National Defence Academy (NDA) in Khadakvasla is the entry point into the commissioned ranks of the Indian armed forces and right from its inception and founding, has been a male preserve, one could even say a holdout against women getting a larger role in such a critical area of national interest. Now, for the first time in independent India, girls fresh from schools will appear in its entrance examinations to be held by the Union Public Service Commission later this month, guaranteeing permanent commissions in the forces to the successful candidates. Indeed, nudged by the Supreme Court last month, the government ran out of options on the matter and a glass barrier will be cracked open on November 14, the date of the UPSC’s written examination for the NDA. While there has been plenty of doubt and breast-beating about the matter, the move has found surprisingly wide support from veterans, who say it is time India caught up with the rest of the world when it comes to women officers serving alongside their male counterparts in all branches of the three services, and not in the restricted roles they have been occupying so far.

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