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Agniveer– a Veteran’s Take

Since the professional tri services hierarchy has accepted the Agnipath proposal then let it be.
It isn’t that the government has made it completely compulsory like in Israel.

आपको नहीं आना है.. मत आओ.
If you don’t want to join, don’t.

Ill-informed people are commenting that the regimentation would be affected.
How do these civilians know whether the regimentation is good or bad? Do they have even an iota of information on the units /regimental institution of the Army?

You would agree that EME without regimentation is a beautiful organization.
Vested interests are making a hue and cry on 75% who don’t make it to the army will take up the arms and militancy. Political parties would create their private armies. Absurd thinking.
At OTC Chennai officers who are trained for 9 months for SSC (Short service commission) and serve for 5 years are gainfully engaged after SSC induction in the army. They make fine officers, some of them have even laid down their lives during Kargil. The SSC is for 5 years, do they suffer? No. Do they get a pension? No. At least Agniveers will be paid all the benefits of the army.
Typically, a recruit is trained in the army after his selection for one year. He is then inducted toy the respective units.
After which his training continues. A soldier’s training never stops. These regular recruits are given all the benefits while serving in the Army, Service Pension is admissible to JCO’s/OR on completion of minimum mandatory qualifying service of 15 years & not otherwise.
Agniveers will be selected on merit and while serving will get a tax-free salary with all the benefits of the army, These Agniveers will be inducted into the three branches of our forces. IAF, Navy, and the Army.
They will be given 11.76 lacs on completion of 4 years and the best 25% will be absorbed in the Tri Sevices.
The balance of 75% will make for excellent police /paramilitary force staff & many states & MHA have confirmed their absorption. They will also be absorbed locally where their adaptability will be best.
The Agniveers will also get disability and death benefits and also an insurance cover of Rs one crore to the family in case of death.

India today needs a young fighting force in the age group of 22-25 years of age to fight on two fronts. The present average age of troops is 32 years. In a few years, this will be brought down to 26 years.
Israel, the USA, China, and France have similar arrangements for the recruitment of soldiers in the army. Except for Israel, the other 3 are not dedicated armies to fight for the nation, according to me they are commercial forces as none of the 3 armies have fought for their respective nations. They have always fought battles on foreign soil in the name of protecting democracy. There is a difference between fighting for the nation and fighting for others.
But in India, the soldiers take to the army, not as the last resort, but to serve the nation. And fight for the nation.

But here is a word of caution, can an Agniveer’s abilities be trusted for combat OPS, take on terrorists heads-on, or to man a T 90 tank, or scale the Kargil heights. Will they be treated as the “B” team!! Will their amalgamation be total? Questions and more questions. Only time will tell.

It is not that this is a decision taken only by the MoD. All the stakeholders (Tri-service chiefs) were involved in this.
Many Political parties who can’t win at hustings have a bad habit of opposing every good scheme which benefits the deplorable nation.
We’ve to stand united in the cause of national interest.
It is a sad thing that the protesters shown on National TV who are involved in arson and loot are not the material for the Armed forces. They are vagabonds instigated by some political parties.
People who hit the roads, vandalize & protest violently are misfits for national security duty. They are not the people who care for their nation. Or who can protect India! My head hangs in shame when I see the burning of trains and arson and destruction of public property which is shown on National Television. They should be identified using Drones, dyed water cannons & stringent action undertaken.
I shudder to think that these hooligans demand to be inducted into the army. Has this become the new norm to arm-twist the government on any good proposals?
This is the fallout reaction of what happened outside the ED. #NationalHerald. Mr. Rahul Gandhi had said” BJP has spread kerosene all over, just one spark and…”


Very alarming and a potent threat, one has to read between the lines to understand the real meaning.
No point in making fun of his comic speeches and taking him lightly as a wasted material. He is the most dangerous material.
Is this the prelude to one more Toolkit of the Vadras to wage civil unrest? Pan India protests do not start spontaneously unless it is a well-conceived and well-planned conspiracy. As news received just now investigations reveal of WhatsApp groups are formed by the name of “Boycott TOD” to mobilize the crowd instigating violence and giving directions on how where and what to vandalize.

No point in naysayers who are shown a Rose and say it is a Cactus.
Besides induction of the young boys, the Agniveer scheme will induce discipline and patriotism. It will also teach them how to achieve difficult goals in their lives and how to stay focused.
The Agniveers are technically skilled and those who opt for civilian life will make a mark for themselves in Defence and other start-ups with a helpful Start-up ecosystem that is fast developing. 

My only apprehension is that the unlike the CAA and the repeal of the farm laws government should not withdraw this scheme. Which would send wrong message to the people of India who has faith in the current government. It would also embolden the people who take to vandalism and arson just to blackmail the government into submission. 


And finally…
THERE IS NO BETTER TEACHER THAN THE ARMY.

JAI HIND   

By – Abhi Athavale , a veteran, Indian Army

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