If you thought that the marching of an all-women tri-services contingent in the Republic Day Parade was just a show-off, you need to know about two women in the Indian Army to realise how women are not only joining the Military but also get the toughest assignments by being posted on treachrous terrains and hostile borders of India.
Captain Saria Abbasi and Captain Fatima Wasim are two women army officers whose names surfaced on social media. Abbasi is posted on the post on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the contentious working boundary with China and Fatima Wasim on a post in Siachen, the world’s highest and coldest battlefield along Pakistan.
Captain Saria Abbasi’s picture surfaced on social media after a visit of the media team to the Tawang border where India had deployed its latest acquisition anti-aircraft gun L70.
Capt Saria Abbasi on duty
Capt. Saria Abbasi briefed the media on the merits of the L-70 anti-aircraft gun with its deployment, which can target all types of unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and drones.
Capt Abbasi hails from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, and had dreamt of wearing the Army uniform as a child.
This one video and some pictures caught the attention of the entire country as people were awed by a woman in that role and the gender parity in the Indian army.
Abbasi’s unit is one of the first AD regiments in the country, equipped with 70 guns. India has deployed anti-aircraft guns L70 in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, amid ongoing tensions on the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Saria Abbasi’s father Dr. Tehseen Abbasi is associated with All India Radio, and her mother Rehana Shamim is a junior high school teacher.
The second woman whose image also captured the imagination of the country’s men is Captain Fatima Wasim of the Siachen Warriors. She created history by becoming the first woman medical officer to be deployed to an operational post on the Siachen Glacier.
Capt Fatima Wasim at Siachen
Her posting was proclaimed by the Indian Army's Fire and Fury Corps in a post on X.
"She (Captain Fatima Wasim) was inducted to a post at an altitude of 15,200 feet after undergoing rigorous training at Siachen Battle School, which speaks of her indomitable spirit and high motivation," Fire and Fury Corps posted on X.
The Indian Army's Fire and Fury Corps also uploaded a video in the post to further highlight Captain Fatima Wasim's achievement and celebrate it.
"NATION FIRST"🇮🇳— @firefurycorps_IA (@firefurycorps) December 11, 2023
Capt Fatima Wasim of #SiachenWarriors creates history by becoming the First Woman Medical Officer to be deployed on an operational post on the Siachen Glacier.
She was inducted to a post at an altitude of 15200 feet after undergoing rigorous training at… pic.twitter.com/u5EovNNu1Y
Earlier this month, Captain Geetika Koul from the Snow Leopard Brigade became the first woman medical officer of the Indian Army to be deployed at the world's highest battlefield, Siachen, after completing the induction training at Siachen Battle School.
Siachen Glacier is known as the highest-altitude battle site in the world and is situated near the Indo-Pak Line of Control.
It is the largest glacier in India and the second-largest in the world. It is the highest battleground on earth.
Back to Saria Abbasi’s story: she is a graduate of Genetic Engineering and joined the army four years ago. She said she had no interest in engineering and was always dreaming of becoming an army officer as some of her relatives were. She was attracted to donning the olive green after listening to the stories of valour from her ‘fauji’ relatives.
Capt Abbasi with L70 Gun (released by Army)
She rejected all the job offers from big companies and focused on clearing the Combined Defence Service (CDS) competitive examination conducted by the UPSC for taking in officers for the Military.
There were only 12 seats for women and Saria cleared her examination in her second attempt. After passing the ongoing interviews held over several tours, she was selected for the training that is considered to be the toughest of all.