The Border Security Force, which has one of the biggest contingents of women personnel in its combat ranks, has decided to train them in special commando skills which are used to render difficult tasks.
At present, there are more than 1,200 women personnel in the country's largest border guarding force after they were first inducted in combat roles in 2009 in the constabulary ranks.
"We will be training our women personnel in special skills now so that they can do tasks in the quick-reaction teams and other similar tasks. The training of our women personnel is as good as that of the male combatants and we are absolutely sure that they can perform any given job," outgoing BSF Director General Subhash Joshi told PTI.
Joshi, who took over the force in December 2012, will retire on Friday.
The DG said the force, for the first time, will also induct women officers and after completion of their 44-week training, they will be posted as company commanders at various operational locations.
The 2.4-lakh personnel strong force is expected to get about 27 women officers in the rank of Assistant Commandant later this year. UPSC had last year recruited women officers for combat roles in BSF for the first time.
The women constables of BSF at present are posted at both the borders the force guards -- Pakistan and Bangladesh. At these frontiers, the women not only patrol certain areas, they also frisk and conduct security checks.
The plan now is to train them for special tasks which will require them to be trained in upgraded commando skills.
The DG said once these women are trained to that level, they could be used at any of the forces' operational theatres independently or along with their male counterparts.
The paramilitary force, Joshi said, is also aiming to recruit more women personnel for combat duties as it is planned to take the representation of women in BSF upto 3 per cent of the total strength.
Talking about expansion plans of the force, the BSF chief said it has been granted sanction to raise twelve additional battalions by 2015-17.
"By this year we propose to raise four new battalions and one sector," Joshi said. One battalion comprises about 1,000 personnel.
Joshi said the force has also been asked by the Home Ministry to take over the border guarding duties along the Indo-Myanmar border replacing another paramilitary --Assam Rifles.
"We have sent a detailed proposal to the MHA sometime back stating we would need 41 battalions for this task. The final approval will be given by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on this subject," he said.
The BSF, under the same expansion plan, has created new bases in the hinterland which includes Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
The force has also acquired land in Bhopal and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Noida, Mathura and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Pune, Solapur and Nagpur in Maharashtra, he said.