NEW DELHI: Captain Tania Shergill, who will be leading the Indian Army Corps of Signals contingent on Republic Day, said that if women are given a combat role in the Indian army "we are up for it."
Shergill, a fourth-generation army officer, is the first Indian woman officer who led an all-men contingent on Army Day on 15 January this year.
She points out that women started getting inducted in army since 1993 and "we have come a long way." "Things in army happen gradually and nothing happens overnight. So I am very sure, in the near future, things are only going to get better and we are going to get more opportunities," Shergill told this newspaper in an interaction.
On women breaking the last bastion and wearing combat fatigues she said: "It all depends on the seniors in the hierarchy. Whatever opportunities that will be given to us, we are up for it." She said that getting into army was a dream come true. "Ever since I was a little child I have always seen my father wearing a uniform and it has made me very passionate about it. I always used to think that one day I want to earn a uniform for myself," she said.
She joined Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, in April 2016 and was commissioned on March 2017.
"Made cadets and female cadets are trained equally for one year in our respective academies. The physical standards are something you have to, come up to. The academy makes you mentally tough," said Shergill.
On leading the contingent on Republic Day she said that you feel proud whether you are a male or a female officer. "You feel proud when your Corps gives you an opportunity to command a regiment. It gives you a sense of responsibility and you feel worthy. You feel grateful and blessed."
About process of getting selected for the army and the Republic Day parade, she said that officers had come to the Signals training centre. Out of which we were selected to lead the contingent." She said that her parents are "very proud" on her leading the contingent in the Republic Day.
Shergill's great-grandfather was in the Sikh Regiment and her grandfather was in the 14th Prince of Wales's Own Scinde Horse, which was a regular cavalry regiment of the Bombay Army. Her father was in 101 Medium Regiment under Artillery.
Captain Bhavna Kasturi was the first woman officer to lead an all-men contingent in 2019 during Republic Day parade....