Govt against compulsory military training for youth

Jaitley says that after training, they could join undesirable elements
Last Updated : 25 July 2014, 20:14 IST

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The government does not want to make military training compulsory for the youth, apprehending the move may backfire if they take up the arms against the state.

“With our socio-political and economic conditions, it is highly undesirable, if some of the unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of undesirable elements,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha on Friday.

“Military training to all the youth of the country may also lead to militarisation of an entire nation,” the Defence Minister added.

Moreover, compulsory military training would mean creation of a large training establishment, draining out the national resources.

“As the armed forces are not facing any problem in getting adequate number of volunteer recruits, every youth does not compulsorily need to be given military training,” he said.

In the wake of the Kargil conflict, several times there were demands for conscription. But the government was never too keen. “Compulsion in respect of military training, it is felt, would go against the democratic ethos,” Jaitley said.

Since 2011, there were three private members bill on conscription in Parliament. While one of them is pending in the Rajya Sabha, two others lapsed in the Lok Sabha.

Siachen deaths

The minister also informed the House that in the last two and half years, 50 Indian soldiers died in the harsh conditions of Siachen – the world’s highest battlefield.

Fifty soldiers were killed in the last three years up to July 20 in Siachen glacier due
to landslides, floods, avalanches and harsh climatic conditions.

The troops from India and Pakistan were engaged in a face-off in Siachen till 2003 when ceasefire was declared. India maintains more than 3,000 troops on the glacier where Indian posts have been built at altitudes of up to 23,000 feet.

Jaitley said the government was aware of “strategic importance” of Siachen and requisite forces were deployed on the basis of “threat perception, ground situation and operational needs.”

Published 25 July 2014, 20:14 IST

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