“No Question Of Rollback”: NSA Ajit Doval On Agnipath Scheme

Ajit Doval

Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser (NSA), stated on Tuesday that the scheme prepares India for the future.

New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval stated on Tuesday that the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme will not be reversed despite objections against it. He asserted that the new system will guarantee a younger and more technologically savvy force in an interview with ANI, saying “There is no question of rollback.” Even if India’s population is one of the youngest in the world, it cannot continue to have an army with a high average age.

NSA Doval is the most recent person the government has sent to defend the plan to recruit ‘Agniveer’ soldiers into the three services on four-year contracts without pensions. Only up to 25% of these recruits may receive regular commissions for the subsequent 15 years. Since the announcement on June 14, there have been violent protests all around India in response to this.

While discounting the idea of a rollback, as was done for three legislations during the farmers’ protest last year, Mr Doval stated in the interview, “It is not a reflexive response. For many years, people have argued over and discussed this plan.” He mentioned a number of army committees and ministerial panels that have discussed such an army employment plan.

“Everyone was aware of the issue, but nobody was willing or able to take a chance. Only a leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi could assert that, if necessary, he would even suffer a political price for an action that served the interests of the country,” he said.

Mr Doval asserted that the Defence Ministry wrote to the Home Ministry in 2006, during the time a Congress-led alliance was in power, saying that “we are thinking of implementing this thing, so will the central armed forces be able to take some in reserves?” According to the NSA, the Home Ministry established a committee under the direction of the director-general of the Border Security Force (BSF), but its report was never made public.

He rubbished concerns that Agniveers fired after four years may be utilised for personal gain or turn into “mercenaries for hire.” Mr Doval said that the Agniveers will have such training and devotion to society that they will actually be “a force for internal security,” saying that the most crucial factor in maintaining law and order is for the populace to uphold the law.

“With those let go after four years, the civil society too will have thousands as catalysts of change with a national perspective,” he continued. “Not only will the military forces have well-trained soldiers.”

The programme, which was unveiled by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in front of the heads of the three services, calls for the hiring of men and women between the ages of 17 and a half and 21. After two years of no recruitment owing to the coronavirus epidemic, the Centre later increased the maximum age for recruitment to 23 years. This year, the three services are expected to hire about 45,000 soldiers. The Indian Army has already announced that registration will start the following month.

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