A group of 20 Afghan women serving in combat roles are in India for a military training programme. This is the first such exercise, and it has enthused their Indian peers, who are keen to serve on the frontline themselves.
The 20-day training programme began on 4 December at Officers Training Academy, the sole centre training gentlemen and lady cadets in India.
Two Indian Army women officers who are coordinating the training were for allowing women in combat role.
Major Sanjana, the instructor for the training programme for Afghan officers, was asked if the Indian army too should allow women officers in combat roles.
Yes, I definitely give a big yes...we should be given a fair opportunity in combat...all of us feel we could be in the forefront. If Afghan lady officers are serving their nation in combat, then why not the Indian Army? We are one of the largest armies in the world!Major Sanjana JR to PTI
She said though women Army officers were presently engaged in key support roles, they were not actually in the thick of combat.
"Hopefully, we will be part of combat [in future]," said Captain Samriti, who is acting as an interpreter and coordinator for the programme. It has been the wish of women officers to engage in combat to serve the nation, she added.
The training will end on 23 December and the Afghan officers will leave the next day, Samriti said.
Though training sessions have been held in the past to enhance the skills of officers in other areas, this is the first time Afghanistan women officers are here for military training, she said.
Major Sanjana said the training programme is a "capsule" which encompasses major features of one-year training.
The Afghanistan women officers of various ranks are being trained in several areas including weaponry, firing, communication, tactics, administration and logistics.
They are also being trained to use hand grenades, AK-47s, INSAS (Assault rifle), among others.
On Monday, media personnel were allowed to witness the women officers getting trained in handling the AK-47 in the OTA shooting range here at St Thomas Mount.
They also handled ambush situations in mountainous terrain in classroom simulation exercises. They also underwent training in computer proficiency.