In a historic move, the Indian Air Force has allowed its women officers to join the Garud commando force, its special forces unit in a bid to promote gender equality. Officials from the Air Force also reportedly revealed that women officers who meet the criteria for selection will be allowed into the elite force, a decision which was apparently taken by the top command last year itself.The special forces units of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have so far been male-dominated. These elite forces are capable of mounting the swiftest and stealthiest responses to enemy attacks, and soldiers are not directly assigned to them but have to volunteer and qualify the very selective criteria. Recently, the Indian Navy also opened the doors of its elite marine commando unit, Marcos, to its women officers.The Indian Air Force created the Garud commando force in 2004, after an attack on its Awantipore fighter base near Srinagar. Yet, women were not allowed to join the elite force citing physiological, psychological and cultural limitations. In 2015, the Air Force allowed womens induction in the fighter stream for combat roles, which opened the gates for their gradual entry into the special forces.*Image used for representative purpose only.