In another first for women, 25-year-old Prakriti has been inducted as the first direct-entry combat officer in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The ITBP is the last of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to induct women officers in combat roles after the government first allowed it to enrol them in 2016.
Prakriti, who goes by a single name, had cleared the UPSC exam for officers’ recruitment in CAPFs in the same year and in her first attempt.
She has a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and is now based in an ITBP unit in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh. She will soon join the Officers’ Training Academy of the force in Dehradun.
Of the five Central Armed Police Forces, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force had allowed women to apply as direct-entry officers through the UPSC for a long time.
Two other forces — the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal — were allowed to directly induct women officers in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The ITBP was the only paramilitary that had not allowed women to join in supervisory combat roles owing to its primary task of guarding the difficult Sino-India border.
The force, that guards the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, was raised in 1962 in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression. The over 83,000 personnel-strong ITBP at present has about 1,500 women (nearly 1.75 per cent) with the majority being in the rank of constables.