ISSN 2330-717X

India’s Agnipath: A Nightmare Or A New Way Forward? – OpEd

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Modi’s government unveiled the plan called Agnipath, or “path of fire”, aimed at bringing more people into the military on short, four-year contracts to lower the average age of India’s 1.38 million-strong armed forces. Analysts say the scheme will also help cut burgeoning pension costs.

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Agnipath Scheme 2022 is a new recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces for four years. This proposal came with an aim to bring transformational changes in Indian armed forces. The youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. Agneepath scheme is a recruitment process for individuals below the rank of officer, to deploy younger troops on the front lines, eventually enhancing the youthful profile of the Armed Forces. A total of 46000 vacancies have been released under the Agnipath Scheme 2022 and service tenure is of 4 years.

India youth is furious over this proposal and small protests have turned into violent clashes in several Indian states. Massive protests are being erupted by the youngsters in parts of Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand and Haryana who are demanding an immediate rollback of the scheme. Protests against the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme continued in several parts of the country with youths taking to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the Centre’s newly introduced Agnipath scheme. Blocked roads, smoke billows from vehicles, and burnt trains all painted a picture of chaos and disorder across the country.

Defense aspirants are unhappy with the changes introduced under the Agneepath recruitment scheme. Students are raising their concerns over the term, no pension provisions for those who exit early, and the age restriction that makes many of them ineligible.

Agnipath scheme is also been criticized by Indian opposition and other former Indian military officer saying that it was an attempt to play with the lives of young people. As Congress leader and MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar criticized the scheme saying The BJP government could not keep its promise of creating 16 crore jobs in eight years. That is why they are marketing Agnipath as a good job opportunity.

This is merely another among the anti-people policies of the Centre. The situation is similar in all sectors. By eliminating permanent recruitment and through steps like contract, outsourcing, and fixed term employment, the policies of the government are pushing the lives of the younger generation of the country into complete uncertainty and darkness.

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Agnipath scheme has also received criticism from some military generals and defence experts who say it could weaken the structure of the army and could have serious ramifications for national security, especially when India has tense borders with two of its neighbours Pakistan and China.

Tens of thousands of Indian troops are still massed in a tense standoff over the disputed Himalayan border with China. Some half a million troops have become a permanent presence in Indian Administered Kashmir.

Former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy has alleged,  the Agnipath scheme is a hidden agenda by the RSS to take control of the Indian Army. Agniveers would become RSS workers inside the Army and outside as well, even after their service ends.

The scheme sparked violent protests in northern and eastern parts of the country, with thousands of young men attacking train coaches, burning tyres and clashing with officials, after which the government tweaked some of the rules.

He termed the scheme as “RSS’s Agnipath” that the RSS was founded during the time of Hitler’s Nazi rule in Germany.

It is yet not clear what that 75% would be doing after being kicked out of the army. After getting training of four years, they would be a hot-cake for those who are interested in establishing their personal armies and even for the groups involved in different terrorist activities.

A clear and resounding message to 220 Million Muslims in India to remain silent and do nothing as the BJP besieges their faith, communities, and lives.

The writer is a Islamabad based freelance analyst. You can reach author at: [email protected]

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