DEHRADUN: Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh, and Avani Chaturvedi. Add Geeta Rana Negi, and feel the spirit of a soldier in them. If the three are the first women combat pilots of the IAF, Col Geeta is the first woman officer to command an independent field battalion deployed along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
The Colonel comes from Pauri in Uttarakhand, which gave the country its first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Bipin Rawat.
For the world outside the armed forces, these officers are a reflection of India’s growing women’s power. But for those who chose to wield the weapon within the force, the honours are natural, the promotions well-deserved and on merit.
Col Geeta belongs to the Battalion of Corps of Engineers. For the first time in the history of the Indian Army, a woman officer has been assigned such a command.
The Army had recently received government approval to deploy women officers in the role of commanders. Colonel Negi has become the first officer to achieve the feat.
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Col Geeta is currently posted in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers. Lieutenant Colonel Manish Srivastava, PRO, Defence, Dehradun, told this newspaper that Col Geeta is originally from Kewar Talla village in Narayanbagar development block of Chamoli.
Her maternal home is in Dangu Dugadda in Pauri district. She comes from a soldier’s family. Her father Kirpal Singh Rana retired from the Army’s Mahar Regiment as Honorary Captain.
Col Geeta was born in Ludhiana. Her parents live in Bareilly.
She is married to Siddharth Negi, a resident of Kewar Talla village in Narayanbagad and is engaged in making farmers aware of the conservation of coarse grains along with natural and organic farming, according to Lt. Col Shrivastav. The officer’s feat was celebrated among the locals in Uttarakhand.