Mhow (Madhya Pradesh): Defence veterans from Mhow largely seem to be in favour of the Agnipath scheme that has created a storm across the country. While talking to Free Press and Lt Gen JS Sandhu (retired), former GOC-in-C of Kashmir corps said that the scheme has not been brought all of a sudden and due deliberation has been done before its unveiling. Now it is the duty of commanders and the officers to manage the transition and maintain the morale of the forces. At the same time, the government must look towards strengthening the prospects of Agnipath recruits after they are discharged from service.
He said that the new scheme has been unveiled after intense debates and brainstorming. Tenures of short service commission officers during the World Wars and other wars used to be seven years only and those personnel showed phenomenal prowess in the battles wherever they were deployed. Giving an example of Israeli soldiers that serve for less than 2 years, he said that they are very effective soldiers. Same aspect has been noticed in the Russia- Ukraine war where personnel have been inducted into the Army for short tenures but they are not lacking in courage. On the job security of the Agniveers, he said that this aspect could be addressed easily by the government on the lines of the US where existing armed forces personnel are granted college education at government cost.
Col VK Saini (retired), former commanding officer of Army Recruiting Office, Mhow said that the scheme has been made at a high level jointly by senior representatives of all three services, bureaucracy and public during the last two years. Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (retired) who had served in the army for nearly four decades had been a key member of the high power committee that had been instrumental in making this scheme.
He said that this scheme will make the army less dependent on manpower and more technology-driven in line with modern warfare which doesn’t rely on hand-to-hand combat. The aim of the scheme was to get a technically advanced force with a younger profile.
At the end of four years, forces will absorb the best of these personnel who will then serve for the whole tenure just like present army personnel.
One thing should be kept very clear that it is not the duty of the armed forces to provide employment, its job is to protect the national interest and this scheme will produce men who are physically fit, mentally alert, loyal, honest and capable of sustaining hard work along with challenges.
Col Sushil Kumar (retired), the director of Rajaji Shooting Club of Mhow said that the government must consider increasing the age limit of the candidates interested in the Agnipath scheme. If this happens, the chances for youths to join under this scheme will greatly increase. He also said that the scheme is very nice but has not been properly explained to the public. The government must devise some methods so that every youth of the society and his guardian is able to understand all the good points which have been kept in mind while framing this historical scheme which will change the dynamics of the armed forces in such a way that their whole profile will become very young. On the issue of severe despair amongst the youths resulting in the worsening of law and order situation in the major part of the country, he said that the main reason for this is the communication gap between the government and the public in this particular matter. Better will be the communication, better will be the situation and thousands of youths will soon be seen taking part in the recruitment rallies of Army for the selection of candidates under the Agnipath scheme.