12:16 GMT +321 January 2020
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    Given its fragile border with China in the east and Pakistan in the west, India is wise to maintain one of the world’s largest armies. However, with the waning popularity of armed forces careers, India is facing a serious crunch of junior leadership in the military.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian army is currently facing a shortage of 7,298 officers. The Indian Navy has an authorized strength of 11,352 officers but has only 9,746, which is 1,606 less than the sanctioned number. Even the Air Force is short 192 officers, the country's Defense Ministry informed Parliament on Thursday.    

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    "As on January 1, 2018, the authorized strength of the Army was 49,933 but it has 42,635 officers, which is 7,298 short of sanctioned strength," Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defense said.

    The defense ministry has claimed it has undertaken a number of measures including career fairs, exhibitions, media campaigns, etc. to encourage the youth to join the Armed Forces. But army veterans say that the government lacks the proper strategy to lure the youth.  

    "The main problem is that each unit in field areas presently has only 12-14 officers instead of the sanctioned 21-22, while in peace stations it is only 9-10 officers. For the last several years, the government has taken a number of steps such as improving promotion prospects, making short service commission more lucrative and providing housing for married officers. However, much more needs to be done. The other steps are merely publicity measures," Major General (Retd) R K Arora told Sputnik.  

    Arora is of the opinion that the shortage of new recruits has increased stress level among existing officers, thus adversely affecting their competency.

    "Deficiency is at the Lieutenant, Captain and Major levels. These are the officers who are leading the counter-insurgency operations but the shortage of these officers is adversely affecting their leadership quality, combat level and increasing the stress level among officers," Arora added.

    Another former Indian army officer, Major General (Retd) G. D. Bakshi opines that today young people have various other lucrative career opportunities.

    READ MORE: Indian Troops to Use Russian Equipment During SCO Military Exercise in Russia

    "The fact is that at present, there are various job opportunities for the young people in India. Now people want to work in comfort; in air-conditioned offices. We don't get a high salary in the armed forces; but there was a way of life, attitude, a sense of pride, a nationalist sentiment which has always propelled the youth to join the forces. But the new generation has nothing to do with it. They are highly materialistic. It is a fact that the choice of the armed forces as a career has decreased over the years," Major General (Retd) G D Bakshi told Sputnik.


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    strategic decision, troop shortage, career, stress, officers, Parliament, Indian Army, Indian Defense Ministry, India
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