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Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar on Tuesday said they have approached the Defence Ministry for an approval of changing the nomenclature of various ranks as they now have women sailors also.

He also expressed hope that since gender neutrality has been introduced in the Indian Navy, it will have a woman chief in 30-35 years. He was addressing media persons during the inauguration of a new administrative building of the Naval War College (NWC) at Verem in North Goa.

“We follow all roles, all ranks. Hoping that 30-35 years down the line we will have a woman chief of naval staff speaking to you all,” Admiral Kumar said.

The Navy already has a woman commanding officer of a ship based in Goa, he noted.

“Recently, we have got a consensus from all the people concerned and we have taken it with the ministry for approval for changing the rank nomenclature, like leading seamen, seamen class I, seamen class II, because now we have got women sailors also,” he said.

“Women cannot be sea-men. We are looking at naming them as nausainik class I or nausainik class II, this will be gender neutral because we have been pursuing the policies of Government of India,” he said.

Admiral Kumar said the idea of “nari shakti” (women power) is also being introduced in the force as “we have women in the ranks for the first time since last year and within a year-and-half we have 1,124 women sailors, they are going to board ships shortly.” The Navy has opened all the branches for women, as they can now even be marine commandos.

“We are looking at capability, confidence, competence and ability to deliver the task of the Navy,” he said.

“The effort is to move all the old things that we have inherited, the colonial stuff, and bring in pride based upon our viraasat (heritage),” he said.

In 1988, the College of Naval Warfare was established at INS Karanja, Mumbai to impart advanced professional military education to the middle and senior level officers of the Indian Navy.

It was renamed as the Naval War College in 2010 and shifted to its current location in Goa in 2011.

The college also conducts a maritime security course, wherein military officers from India’s maritime neighbourhood participate and collaborate towards an open, secure and inclusive Indian Ocean Region that reflects the prime minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – Security and Growth for All in the Region.

Since its inception in 1988, the college has trained 2,000 defence officers and 40 foreign officers, a Navy spokesperson earlier said.

The college has a mix of officers from all three services who are prepared for future leadership roles.