All-women SWAT team.
Members of the all-women SWAT team of the Delhi Police during a training routine.PTI

Another glass ceiling was shattered on Friday when Delhi Police inducted an all-female special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team, making it the first unit of its kind in the country.

Trained by India's premier anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG), the 36 women underwent 15 months of indoctrination in weapons handling, commando tactics, unarmed combat, counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, scaling buildings and bomb defusing.

All members of the team are from north-eastern states and will work alongside five all-male SWAT teams under the special cell of Delhi Police.

The north-east has been a neglected part of the country and many states are in grip of insurgency with separatists demanding self-rule. It is hoped that with the setting of the unit the feeling of alienation people from that part of the country have will be addressed to a degree.

A Delhi Police officer said the women commandos are as good and in some cases better than their male counterparts. "They are experts at handling weapons and they have the training to tackle any form of terrorist incident or hostage-taking crisis anywhere and anytime," the officer said.

The team will be deployed at strategic locations to provide security when Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his Independence Day address from the Red Fort on August 15.

"The women are competent and we have full confidence in their capabilities and that is the reason we have given them this important task," says the officer.

The creation of the unit is important because at present only seven percent of police personnel in India are women though the government wants that figure to be 33 per cent.

Police officials say they hope that the all-women SWAT team will inspire and encourage more women to join the police force.