France, Sept. 11 -- India will open its top military school to women seeking full-time career in the armed forces -a male-onlybastion up until now - in a move thatsignals a majorstep towards gender equality.

"It is a delight to share this ... girls will be admitted in the National Defence Academy (NDA)," India's Solicitor-General Aishwarya Bhati told aSupreme Court appeals hearing forpermanent jobs in the military for women.

The army, navy and the air force, she said,hadfinally decided to invite women to the NDA, which trains cadets from the three services and could hold its next round of inductions in November.

A two-judge bench set 20 September as thedate for a complete report from the government.

"We have the nudged the authorities...