Will hit morale

Apropos of ‘Radical recruitment changes, now soldiers to be inducted for 4 years’; in its enthusiasm to do something new and cut pension bills, the government is opening up another area for experimentation, contrary to the professional advice and without factoring in the long-term impact on soldiering. What was wrong with the existing system? Four years is too less to train and motivate soldiers. Isn’t 15% absorption as permanent cadre too less to even sustain the training cost, while releasing 85% personnel without any blueprint for a second career in civil? The scheme has been sugar-coated but its impact on the operational potential and morale of the services is anybody’s guess. The perfectly working system of ‘single class’ regiments too is up for change to ‘all India, all class’ method of recruitment which failed in the past.

GP Capt JS Boparai (Retd), Bhadsali

Not a good decision

The new Agnipath scheme to recruit soldiers for only four years is not a right step. Recruits will have less motivation as they would have to search for jobs again after getting released. There will be difference of skill between regular jawans and Agniveers who will have less training. This cannot be called employment as the period is very less.

IPS Anand, Gurugram

Disband armed forces!

The Central government has brought in radical changes in recruitment with the aim to cut down the pension bill of defence personnel. The government should disband the defence forces. Instead of the Army, it should restructure the BSF/ITBP to include some elements of armoured and artillery forces etc. Instead of the Air Force and Navy, we should hand over our air and naval bases to the US to safeguard our country, as is being done by many countries. As far as internal security is concerned, the state police and the CRPF are well experienced and competent to deal with it.

Col PK Kapoor (retd), by mail

Chiefs in agreement?

Did the three service chiefs recommend this radical recruitment system for soldiers? They seem to be supporting the RM since they never objected to it over the last two years. Did the present fixed class compulsion for units fail the nation? No. What was the compulsion to change it? It is doubtful if the pension bill will be reduced since ORs will be retiring early.

Brig HS Ghuman SC (Retd), by mail

Scope for changes

The new recruitment policy announced by the government for the armed forces, though radical, may prove to be a fiscal game-changer. The policy will ensure a very young and energetic force always, but will be dotted with uncertainties for those who will be demobilised after four years. It may hit the morale of the forces, thus affecting their fighting efficiency. The low morale of the Chinese army, exhibited in eastern Ladakh, should not be ignored. The armed forces should give a real feedback to enable the government to carry out necessary changes in the policy, if need be.

Col sajjan kundu (retd), Hisar

Aimed at electoral gains

The Agnipath recruitment scheme seems to be aimed only at getting short-term electoral gains. Giving military training and temporary employment to unemployed youth for four years may be counterproductive in the long run. The majority of these youths would become unemployed again at the age of 25. At this vulnerable age, these trained youths could easily be tempted to join terror-spreading agencies, for whom they would be a big asset.

Balvinder, Chandigarh

Nuclear dilemma

Reference to ‘Resurgence of N-dilemma’, while the idea of deterrence continues to hold good against nuclear war, it is of no use against conventional wars. Rather it promotes and prolongs them. Strong conventional armed forces are the only deterrent against conventional wars. However, both powers are sine qua non for national security. India must have strong conventional armed forces as well as nuclear arsenal. The recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that India has less nuclear warheads and launching platforms than even Pakistan is ominous.

Lt Col GS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

Be wary of China

Refer to the deadlock with China; there seems to be an alarming situation along the LAC. The continuous tensions between the two countries have led us to this stage. There is an urgent need to resolve the issue. Procrastination may lead to a situation similar to that in 1962. India should take steps to tell China that it has done enough to test our patience, and if it does not stop, it will suffer the consequences at national and international levels.

Kushagar Bansal, by mail

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