Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the full spectrum of conflict, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Tuesday.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, with three services chiefs General Manoj Pande (Army), Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Admiral R Hari Kumar (Navy), addressed a joint press conference today at National Media Centre in New Delhi.
Here, the government unveiled a new scheme called “Agnipath” for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, largely on a short-term contractual basis, with an aim to cut the ballooning salary and pensions bill.
Speaking at the press conference today, the Indian Army chief said, “Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the full spectrum of conflict and it will increase the technical threshold of the Army by recruiting ‘Agniveers’ through ITIs and other tech-institutes.”
The Army chief highlighted that ‘Agniveers’ will be assimilated and integrated into Army in every way. “We will institute a fair, transparent and scientific method in screening initial intake of four years and apply similar yardsticks to select those who will get enrolled… ‘Agniveers’ will be assimilated and integrated into Army in every way,” he said.
“There won’t be any compromise on the skillset of Agniveers. We will deploy Agniveers on borders,” Chief Of Army Staff General Manoj Pande said.
The Army chief said further, “Agnipath scheme aims to bring a paradigm shift in recruitment in armed forces. Agnipath scheme will help ensure optimum balance between youth and experience in Army.” Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on June 14, approved the Agnipath scheme under which the youngsters will be provided with an opportunity to serve in the regular cadre of the Armed Forces.
The Agnipath model envisages the recruitment of personnel below officer rank (PBOR) in the Army, Air Force, and Navy for four years, including six months of training. Soldiers recruited under the Agnipath model will be called as ‘Agniveers’. The Agniveers will form a distinct rank in the three services, and will also wear a distinct insignia as part of their uniform.