Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat triggered outrage when he listed a string of sexist reasons for not keeping women for combat roles in the Indian Army.
Speaking to News18, Rawat said, "We have women officers as engineers, they are doing mining and demining work. In air defence, they are manning our weapon systems. But we have not put women in frontline combat because what we are engaged in right now is a proxy war, like in Kashmir".
He also highlighted maternity leave as an issue for serving women officers. "She (a women officer) can't leave her unit for six months, but objecting to the said leave could create a 'ruckus', Rawat said.
Responding to a question Rawat said that our country is not ready to see a woman combat's body inside a body bag.
"See, I am not saying a woman who has children doesn't die. She can also die in a road accident. But in combat, when body bags come back, our country is not ready to see that."
He also cited logistical reason also behind not posting women on frontlines.
"Our orders are that a lady officer will get a hut in the COB, then there are orders that we have to cocoon her separately. She will say somebody is peeping, so we will have to give a sheet around her," Rawat said.
Rawat questioned whether a women officer with commanding responsibilities can stay away from her post for long?
"I am ready, it is not that army is not ready (for combat role for the women). Will she command? Ok, so now I make her a commanding officer. She is commanding a battalion.
Rawat also said that there aren't any women currently serving in the front-line combat positions within the Indian army, he added, "A woman would feel uncomfortable at the front-line".
(With inputs from agencies)