Twenty-five-year-old Prakriti from Bihar’s Samastipur district has become the first woman to be inducted as a direct-entry combat officer by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.
ITBP, the border guarding force, was the last among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to begin the process of inducting women officers in combat roles after the Ministry of Home Affairs began the process in 2016. Thus far, only women of constable rank were inducted by the ITBP in combat roles.
Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Prakriti said that she always wanted to serve in uniform. “I always wanted to don the uniform and serve the country. My father, who is in the Indian Air Force, has always been an inspiration for me. I opted for the ITBP as my first choice,” she said.
Already equipped with B Tech degree in electrical engineering, she cleared the Union Public Service Commission exam for officers’ recruitment in the CAPFs after her very first attempt. “I read a news piece in March 2016 that the government had for the first time allowed women to serve as combat officers in the ITBP and then decided that I would opt for this force once I get selected,” said Prakriti.
“She is expected to be commissioned as an Assistant Commandant (AC) next year in the force after she completes her training at Dehradun. She will be posted at a border post,” a senior ITBP officer told PTI.
In an interesting aside, the latest female officer recruit into the ITBP told PTI that her parents chose not to give her a surname, taking note of the pernicious impact of caste on Indian society. She also spoke of how her parents supported her in this endeavour.
“My parents supported me thoroughly. I wish and urge other parents that when their children make career choices, they should not think that it is their son or daughter making a choice but that it is a child who is taking up a challenge,” she said.
Set up in the aftermath of the 1962 war against China, the ITBP has a personnel strength of 83,000, of which 1,500 are women. The majority of women are in the rank of constable. Until Prakriti’s induction, all senior women officers were inducted into service streams like medicine, but not for combat.