India will start enrollment under new military recruitment plan

Monday, Jun 20, 2022

NEW DELHI: Enrollment under India's new armed services recruitment plan will commence this month, top defence officials said on Sunday, despite protests against a scheme that will drastically cut tenure and offer fewer service benefits at the end of contract.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on June 14 set out a policy called Agnipath, or "path of fire", designed to bring more people into the military on four-year contracts to lower the average age of India's 1.38 million-strong armed forces.

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.

The plan has also received criticism from some defence experts, who say it could weaken the structure of the forces and have serious ramifications for national security in a country which shares often-tense borders with Pakistan and China.