Women cadets will be able to enter the National Defence Academy (NDA) at class 12 level, sources in the armed forces said today, shortly after the government told the Supreme Court about the landmark move that women will be admitted into the NDA for permanent commission into India's armed forces.
Sources, however, added that the armed forces will seek a clarity on whether "women at the 10+2 stage can be admitted into training academies in addition to the NDA".
While infrastructure needs to be set up to accommodate women cadets, officials say, proposals will be submitted to the Supreme Court in the next hearing.
Presently, the women can enter 10 arms of the Army but not the Fighting Arms. A decision to accept women into the Army's Infantry, Armoured-Mechanised forces and artillery is yet to be taken.
The Indian Air Force has deployed women in combat roles and employs women fighter pilots. Navy is looking to progressively induct women onboard warships.
This morning, the Supreme Court told the centre to file its reply on the induction of women into NDA by September 20.
"We are extremely glad to know that the armed forces themselves took the decision to induct women into the NDA. We know that reforms cannot happen in a day... The government will place timelines of the process and the course of action," the Supreme Court said.
The court was hearing a petition for allowing women to take NDA and Naval Academy exams.
"The armed forces play an important role... but need to do more for gender equality in the forces. We want them to take a proactive approach themselves in ensuring gender equality rather than waiting for courts to intervene," said a bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh.
Last month, the Supreme Court, in a landmark interim order, had said women can sit for the NDA admission exam.