Who are Agniveers?

Agniveers are recruits for the armed forces under the short-term induction programme. Read on to find out more about them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently interacted with Agniveers through a video conference. But do you know who Agniveers are and why they are recruited? Come, let's find out.

Agniveers and Agnipath

"Agniveer" is a new military rank. Agniveers are recruits for the armed forces under the short-term induction programme called the Agnipath scheme. The scheme was unveiled by the Government on June 14, 2022, to recruit Indian youths for the three services - the Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force.

Under the scheme, those in the age group 17-and-a-half years to 21 years are recruited below the rank of commissioned officers for a period of four years with a provision to retain 25% of them for 15 more years. However, the upper age limit was extended to 23 years as a one-time measure for 2022-23. The scheme was earlier called "Tour of Duty".

Purpose of the scheme

The main purpose of the Agnipath scheme is to strengthen the country's security forces, with a youthful, high-tech, and combat-ready military. Those recruited under the scheme are provided training and a pay package, and on completion of the term, will be given a one-time retirement package called 'Seva Nidhi, which will be exempted from income tax. However, the scheme does not include a pension or other benefits.

How do they train?

The training period, which lasts 31 weeks, is divided into two phases. The first 10 weeks are devoted to basic military training and the next 21 weeks to advanced military training. The training will focus on physical fitness, firing and handling various weapons, information technology, and the English language. Nearly 60 lakh applications were received of which 40,000 were selected. The target for this financial year is to recruit 46,000 candidates.

PM's address to Agniveers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently interacted with the first batch of Agniveers through video conferencing. He asserted that Agnipath was a transformative policy and a game changer in strengthening the armed forces and making them future-ready.

Hailing the potential of Agniveers, he said the experience they would acquire through this opportunity, would be a source of pride for life. He said the scheme would further empower women.

The introduction of the short-term military employment scheme has faced criticism from some sections for lack of consultation and public debate.

Picture Credit : Google 

Lets solute to indian army forces

Join the navy, see the world!' I was very fascinated by this ad with images of an Indian naval ship and a sailor in a white uniform in the local newspapers in the year 1986. Those days, there was no internet and we would get to know about recruitment in the armed forces through recruitment rallies or ads. The selection process was robust; only the physically, mentally, medically and academically fit could get through.

Joining the Indian Navy was a dream come true for me. At first, my parents were against the idea as they knew that joining the armed forces was a risky affair and soldiers get killed during encounters and wars. Somehow I managed to convince them and I went for the recruitment rally and got selected.

Youngsters join the armed forces for different reasons; attracted by the uniform, promising career, the pay and perks, opportunities of travelling, the social prestige, to support their family, etc. But from the day we wear that prestigious uniform we all have just one reason; Service before Self. We forget all our differences of Let the religion, caste, creed, language, state and we proudly call ourselves the Indian Armed Forces (IAF). We learn to embrace the differences and live in harmony to serve our nation.

Of course, it requires a lot of sacrifice on our part as we join the armed forces at a very young age; service becomes our priority and everything else becomes secondary. While those of our age enjoy college life, we are getting grilled during our training. Of course, the rigorous training made us disciplined, courageous, confident, gritty and agile. Many a time, we didn't get leave when we wanted, we got transferred to places far from home every three years, and we had to leave our family behind and sail for months. Even while on leave, I was recalled a few times for operational requirements. Yes, it's definitely a Service before Self in every sense. We didn't have any employees unions or associations to call for a strike or fight for our rights; we just obeyed the orders from our superiors because that's how we were trained. I proudly served the Indian Navy for 15 long years as an Anti Submarine Warfare sailor and retired in 2002 in the rank of a Petty Officer. My career in the navy wasn't easy; it had its own challenges. I had to go through tough training, live with tough people and sail on rough seas. But after 20 years of retirement, when I look back, I take pride in having served our nation. The Navy transformed me from a boy to a disciplined, courageous, committed and responsible young man. It provided me with opportunities to visit several countries that I wouldn't even have thought of visiting at that young age.

I have great respect for our armed forces. Their sense of duty or a "calling to service" arises from patriotic family values or the desire to do something meaningful in life. The primary mission of the Indian Armed Forces is to ensure national security; to defend the nation from external aggression and internal threats, and to maintain peace and security within its borders. Apart from its wartime role, the forces are also actively involved in various peacetime roles; peace-keeping, humanitarian assistance, disaster-relief and aid to the local government in handling internal affairs, evacuation of Indian nationals from conflict zones and many more. The Indian Armed Forces has proven its strength and responsiveness during many such daredevil evacuations and operations.

If today we are able to sleep peacefully without the fear of being attacked by our neighbouring countries, we should thank the Indian Armed Forces who remain ready, vigilant, responsive and agile, safeguarding the borders from all fronts. It doesn't matter if the temperature is minus 50 degrees at the Siachen Glacier; the Indian Army stands tall and ready to strike. It doesn't matter if the sea is choppy; the Indian Navy is ready to sail out to deter the enemies. It doesn't matter if the sky is cloudy; the Indian Air Force is ready for surgical strikes if the enemies intrude into our air space.

Some countries have compulsory military service where every male has to serve the nation for a few years after their schooling. There are many reasons for such policies. By joining the armed forces for a duration of two years they become courageous, disciplined, patriotic and capable youth. It provides an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from society. After having served the armed forces for two years these young men pursue their studies or find a job. Some men sign up as regulars and serve the nation for a long term. And when there is a need, these trained young men boldly stand to serve the nation by supporting our defence forces.

Recently, the Government of India announced the Agnipath scheme for recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces. This scheme provides recruitment of youth between the ages of 17-and-half years to 23 years for four years with a provision to retain 25% of them for 15 more years. I believe that this would attract youngsters who dream of donning that proud uniform and have a firsthand experience of the Indian Armed Forces. At the same time, this short stint with the forces will certainly transform these youngsters into disciplined, confident, courageous and gritty citizens. Of course, if they prove their professionalism and commitment they have an option to serve further. The dividends of a short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. And if a need arises in the future, we will have a trained and disciplined civilian force to support the Indian Armed Forces, and of course, these young, trained soldiers can support in the peacetime role of the forces.

As we celebrate our 75th Independence Day, let's salute the Indian Armed Forces who have dedicated their life to the service of our nation. Let's also remember the thousands of armed forces personnel who have laid down their lives for the nation during war and peacetime operations. They have left behind their families, and we should respect and honour these war widows and children. Let's also help those who have retired after serving the nation to integrate back into society. Let's salute the serving Indian Armed Forces, because they deserve it! 

Credit : Denny Joseph

Picture Credit : Google 

I want to make my career in the Indian Army

I'm in Std X and want to make my career in the Indian Army. Which subjects should I opt for in Std XI? Where should I apply after that? Is there any special quota for girls?

There are two options for entry into the Indian Armed Forces. Permanent Commission offers a career in the Armed Forces till you retire. Short Service Commission offers you the opportunity to join the Armed Forces for five years initially. At the end of this period one can either opt for further extension or for permanent commission or even opt out.

National Defence Academy, Pune and 10+2 (Tech) are open to unmarried males only. But girls can join army after graduation. So far, more than 1200 lady cadets have already been commissioned into the various Arms and Services of the Indian Army.

Physical fitness play an important role in Indian Army, you must be free from disease/disability. A number of physical tests are conducted before selection.

Picture Credit : Google 

My aim is to join the Indian Army

I am a Std IX student. It has always been my aim to join the Indian Army. I would like to know about the NDA.

The National Defence Academy, Pune is a centre of excellence for military training. This prestigious inter-service institution conducts training for unmarried male citizens who wish to serve the defence services: Indian Army, Indian Navy or India Air Force.

Admission to NDA is through an entrance examination, conducted twice a year by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), New Delhi. This examination consists of a written examination, interview, outdoor physical tests, psychological assessment and group tests. The candidate should be an unmarried male having passed 10+2. For joining the Air Force and Navy wings of the Armed Forces you need Mathematics and Physics at the 10+2 level.

The course of training is for three years. 68% of the training curriculum at the NDA is devoted to academics. The aim is to achieve excellence in academic pursuits without compromising on outdoor activities. Every cadet has to play some game, pass compulsory outdoor training tests, participate in competitive sports, including rifle firing, handball and yachting. On successful completion of the degree course, the cadets are awarded a Bachelor's degree in Arts, Science or Computer Science by Jawaharlal Nehru University.

After completion of the course at the NDA/Naval Academy, Army cadets join the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, Navy cadets join a training ship, and Air Force cadets move on to the Air Force Training Academy in Hyderabad. These courses are 18 months long after which you are commissioned as an officer in the Indian Armed Forces.

Picture Credit : Google