Champion trap shooter Preeti Rajak on Saturday became the first woman subedar in the Army, after she was promoted from the havildar rank.
This is for the first time that a woman Army soldier has been promoted to a junior commissioned officer (JCO), after the Army opened soldier ranks to women in the Corps of Military Police (CMP).
Subedar Rajak had joined the Army (CMP) on 22 December, 2022, based on her proven performance in trap shooting. She is the first meritorious sportswomen in shooting discipline enrolled in the Army as a havildar, said the Army in a statement.
At present, other Army arms and services do not have women appointed to other ranks. Women Agniveers keen to join the Army can enrol to join the CMP.
During the 19th Asian Games 2022, held in China’s Hangzhou in 2023, Sub Rajak won a silver medal in the women’s trap team event. Based on her extraordinary performance, Rajak was awarded first out-of-turn promotion. Usually, soldiers are promoted to JCOs only after clearing their promotion cadres and junior leaders’ proficiency tests in 18-20 years.
In the past too, several meritorious sportspersons were awarded out-of-turn promotions, with national-level champion sports persons directly given the Havildar rank.
Subedar Rajak, currently ranked sixth in India (Trap Women Event), trains at the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in preparation for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.
“Her achievements will motivate generations of young women to come forward to join the Indian Army as well as carve a niche for themselves in professional shooting,” said the Army in a statement, adding that Lieutenant General Gajendra Joshi, Commandant Infantry School, chaired the pipping ceremony.
In another event, Padmashri and Arjuna awardee Subedar Major and Honorary Lieutenant Jitu Rai were promoted to the rank of Subedar Major and Honorary Captain for meritorious services, said the Army.