NEW DELHI: After combat roles for women were opened in the Air Force in October, now it’s the turn of ground troops to make their mark along the long Indo-Tibet border. At least 500 newly trained women constables are due to be deployed there by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for the first time.

The women constables were trained in battle craft and mountain survival during their 44-weeks training. They will be active by March this year when they take their position along the 3,488 km Sino –India border known as Line of Actual Control (LAC). They will be deployed at 20 forward locations in total.

The ITBP, which was created in 1962 after the Sino-India war, has around 72000 active troops, out of which 1661 are women, of whom 1033 are of Constabulary rank. This is the first time women troops will be exposed to enemy in their capacity as fighters, earlier, women ITBP soldiers were primarily involved in civilian protection, maintaining law and order, and frisking of women at the border posts.

ITBP comes under Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is its parent organisation.

D-G Krishana Choudhary, the Executive of the Agency, also encouraged the troops at the ‘passing out parade’ at Basic Training Camp saying, "You will be further trained in field training and high-altitude acclimatization before your final deployment. I am sure you will do the country and the force proud."

Among the soldiers, most women are from the state of Uttrakhand at 97, followed by 63 from UP, and 51 from Bihar. Women cadets from many others states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, J&K, Jharkhand, Assam, and Chhattisgarh also found place in the maiden batch to go to front.

There were inhibitions earlier, as expressed also by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, regarding the women’s physical limitation as active combatants. But those were allayed when Air Force allowed women to fly fighter jets late last year, setting a precedent for the ITBP paramilitary agency to let women take charge.