Dismissing suggestions of gender bias in Indian Navy, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan today said they will prepare themselves for the future when women can be on ships.
"There is no issue of gender discrimination," Dhowan said responding to queries on alleged gender bias in Indian Navy.
Talking to reporters at Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala near here after reviewing Passing out Parade of 330 cadets of the Indian Navy, he pointed out that women officers marched shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts at the impressive ceremony.
"Today 22 women officers passed out. We are very proud that the woman officer who got the award... Not one but two awards is from Kerala, from the local community, a Kannur girl and I think it is a matter of great pride," he said.
He was referring to the achievement of Darshita Babu, who was awarded the 'Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal' for the cadet adjudged first in overall order-of-merit for Naval Orientation (Regular) Course and also the 'Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (South) Gold Medal' for being adjudged the best woman trainee of the course.
"All our women officers make us extremely proud and I can assure you that we, they are all equal and there is no aspect of very gender bias (in Navy system)," he said.
"...I can assure you that we will have women shortly who will be pilots...And we will prepare ourselves for the future when the women can be on our ships," Dhowan said when asked about a case pending before the Supreme Court filed by some women Navy officers.
On November 20, the Supreme Court had stayed the Delhi High Court order allowing women, serving as short service commission officers, to get permanent commission in the Indian Navy.
A bench of Justices T S Thakur and V Gopala Gowda had issued notice to the concerned woman Navy officers on whose plea the High Court had passed the order allowing permanent commission for them in the force.
The government had challenged the order in the apex court.
While the Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for women, the Navy has limited women officers only to short service commission of 14 years.