'Young army officers less tolerant'

Reduced stress tolerance among young army officers deployed in the conflict zone is a key factor contributing to increased tension between officers and soldiers, suggest military psychologists.

Stress tolerance capability (among officers) has gone down highly in the army. The young officers are not learning how to cope with the stress, making the choice difficult for the leadership. Stress accumulation was impacting their performance, Manas Mandal, director of Defence Institute of Psychological Research, Delhi told Deccan Herald.

Earlier this month, Mandal was asked by defence minister A K Antony to suggest steps for the reduction of stress level in officers and soldiers.

Antony asked the DIPR director to pay more attention to officers who unlike the soldiers do not have much option for releasing the stress. Under stress soldiers can always approach an officer for consultation and counsel.

But the options for officers are limited.

Stress level in army formation has come to focus following two recent incidents of stand-off between soldiers and officers in Nyoma and Samba in Jammu and Kashmir and rising level of suicides in the army. Both incidents of scuffle are under investigation.

New Army chief Gen Bikram Singh is now asking the soldiers and officers in various army
formations to go back to their basics and pay attention to “core values” like integrity, loyalty, self-respect and honour. The aim is to ease out the level of tensions between officers and soldiers.

Singh promised to improve the management of Army units based on the reports of court of enquiries, which are investigating the chain of incidents and their causative factors leading to soldier's unrest in Nyoma and Samba.

However, shortage of officers in the Army is complicating the task for the Army Chief.

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