launches new military recruitment scheme, India plagued by massive protests



Reuters reported on Thursday (6/16), protests first erupted in the eastern state of Bihar on Wednesday (6/15) and have since spread to neighboring countries such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The mostly young protesters reportedly set fire to ruling party offices, attacked railway infrastructure, torched several trains and cars, blocked roads and lit tires in the streets.

Authorities tried to deter protesters and police reportedly fired warning shots in the northern state of Haryana after mobs threw rocks at the home of a government official. There is currently no information on potential victims.



Meanwhile, in Palwal district of Haryana, local authorities have been forced to shut down mobile internet access for the next 24 hours to prevent further chaos.

The anger came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced an overhaul of the recruitment process for India’s 1.38 million soldiers, aimed at lowering the average age of military personnel and cutting public spending.

Under the new system, dubbed ‘Agnipath’ (Way of Fire), men and women between the ages of 17 and 21 will be eligible to join the Indian Armed Forces for a term of just four years, and only one in four recruits will be permitted to return to serve permanently.

Meanwhile, the old system allowed young people between the ages of 16½ and 21 to enlist in the military for a minimum of 15 years and also offered them a pension for their service. For this reason, military service is seen as an attractive career path for many young people as it offers stable pay and social housing.

Agnipath will make these opportunities inaccessible to the vast majority of India’s youth, who are already facing a staggering 26% unemployment rate.

“Where are we going after working for four years?” a protester told Indian news agency ANI.

“We will be homeless after four years of service,” he said.

The new system has sparked heated debate among the country’s recruits, military veterans, opposition leaders and even members of Modi’s ruling party, and protesters are now calling on the government to roll back the announced reforms.

A member of Modi’s BJP party, Varun Gandhi, wrote an open letter to Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, warning that under the new system, 75% of those recruited would be out of work after their terms expired. four-year contract.

“Every year that number will increase,” he said in a social media post.

Other politicians have pointed out that the proposed four-year tenure for new recruits will not be enough to boost the efficiency of the Indian army.

Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition party, said in a tweet that “As India faces threats on two fronts, Agnipath’s unwarranted scheme is reducing the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces.”

The government has defended the proposal, arguing that it would bring a “younger profile” to the Indian military and bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy armed force.

The Agnipath system is intended to introduce a total of 46,000 young people into the regular framework of the armed forces this year, where they are expected to receive a wide range of military skills and experience, discipline, form physique, leadership qualities, courage and patriotism.

Jordan Carlson

"Zombie geek. Beer trailblazer. Avid bacon advocate. Extreme introvert. Unapologetic food evangelist. Internet lover. Twitter nerd."

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