'Breaking into a male bastion' India gets its first ever all-female SWAT team

‘Breaking into a male bastion’ India gets its first ever all-female SWAT team


After more than a year of harsh training which included scaling buildings, defusing bombs and rescue hostages, India’s first all-female commando team started work this Friday as Union Minister Rajnath Singh formally inducted the unit into Delhi Police.

First all-female SWAT team of India

Thirty six women took on the rigorous training which lasted 15 months — covering:

  • weapons handling
  • counter-terrorism
  • Krav Maga– the military self-defense technique pioneered by Israel’s security forces

These women broke the traditional male stronghold to enter Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team becoming India’s first such all-female team.

Pramod Kushwaha, a senior Delhi police official, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that this team will work alongside about five all-male commando teams in the Indian capital, adding:

“These women have broken into a male bastion.”

Breaking into the male stronghold

In a way, India’s all-female SWAT team is a major accomplishment ‘globally’ because most of the western countries do not have all-women SWAT teams owing to the kind of training required to become one.

“People often have this kind of misconception that women cannot do this or women cannot do that, but I can say very proudly that these women are on par and at times better than the male commandos,” said Kushwaha.

India’s police force is overwhelmingly male with official data showing just over 7 per cent of all officers are women, well below a government target of 33 per cent.

Also read: 22 Indian women who were the ‘firsts’ in their field

All the women officers in the new team are from India’s northeast, a region that is battling with numerous separatist insurgencies and is seen as a neglected corner of the country.

Kushwaha said women from the region were “much better at certain skills” and “sturdier also”.

We are very confident that these women are fully competent and there is no reason why they should not be given the high-profile task,” said Kushwaha.

“They know how to fire all weapons, they can intervene (in) any terror situation or hostage situation, be it at homes or public places like malls and markets — anything, anywhere.”

“It’s amazing because some of the best male commandos cannot do what these women can do.”

Will be part of security operation during PM’s Independence Day address

This SWAT team will be posted in different locations of South and Central Delhi along with being a part of the security in the high alert zone. According to reports, the team would also be posted in anti-terror vans called Parakram.

The new team will also be part of the security operation when Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his annual Independence Day address on Aug 15 from the ramparts of the 17th-century Red Fort in Delhi.

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