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Army was Caught off guard by the Comprehensive Nature of Agnipath Scheme: Former Army Chief

Army was Caught off guard by the Comprehensive Nature of Agnipath Scheme: Former Army Chief

The Indian government launched the Agnipath programme in June 2022 with the goal of transforming the armed forces’ recruitment process by bringing in “Agniveers,” or contract soldiers, airmen, and sailors. Even though the new plan was ambitious, the Indian Army in particular expressed surprise and doubts at first.

The Army was caught off guard by the Agnipath scheme’s comprehensiveness, according to a recent passage from the upcoming memoir “Four Stars of Destiny,” written by former Army Chief General M.M. Naravane. Although Naravane and the Prime Minister had previously discussed a “Tour of Duty” idea for 2020, it only called for a small number of soldiers to serve on short-term duty, much like the current short-service commission for certain commanders.

Rather, the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the final Agnipath scheme went significantly further. It suggested that all new recruits to the armed forces in a given year become Agniveers, and that the Air Force and Navy would also be included in the programme. This greater adoption surprised not only the army, but also the other two services.

In his memoir, General Naravane states, โ€œWe in the army were taken by surprise by this turn of events, but for the navy and air force, it came like a bolt from the blue,โ€.

He adds that it took him some time to explain the situation to the chiefs of the Air Force and Navy, highlighting that his original idea was intended solely for the army and that he was similarly taken surprised by the program’s widespread implementation.

The first surprise among the military was caused by multiple worries. The short four-year service duration of Agniveers was a significant cause for concern. Critics warned that a short assignment would not give enough time for proper training and experience, which could affect the efficiency of operations. In addition, Agniveers’ lack of pension benefits and long-term career possibilities cast doubt on their dedication and motivation.

Despite the initial surprise and objections, the armed forces have been working hard to effectively implement the Agnipath initiative. Concerns have been addressed with a number of changes, such as raising the age of initial recruiting, improving financial perks, and looking into ways to rehire Agniveers after their service.

The potential of the Agnipath plan to allay these worries and ensure a seamless transition for Agniveers as well as the current military structure will determine its long-term viability. Even if the initial shock may have given way to cautious optimism, the program’s ultimate success will be determined by how it affects India’s military personnel’ welfare and national security.

It is crucial to acknowledge that the Agnipath project is still in its early stages and that its consequences will take time to materialise. Ensuring its success and modifying it to suit the changing requirements of the Indian armed forces would require ongoing discussion and assessment.



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Aatmanirbhar Bharat


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