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Agneepath not specifically aimed at China: Air Marshal Patnaik

He said that the scheme would help the armed forces in fighting enemies on the northern borders better. 

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Shillong: The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Indian Air Force’s Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal Dilip Kumar Patnaik on Wednesday said, the Agneepath scheme, a transformative reform recruitment policy of the armed forces, is not specifically aimed at China.  

He said that the scheme would help the armed forces in fighting enemies on the northern borders better. 

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“Armed forces are there to deter what people across the border do. We will do whatever it takes. I can assure again that with this scheme our preparedness taking on them and giving them a bloody nose will not get affected. We still beat them and in fact I am a youngster doing this my punch will be stronger than someone who is 32,” Patnaik said, when a journalist asked if the Agneepath scheme was launched to attract more youth to join the armed forces to take on China.

“Whoever wants to join he will be selected and we have our things in place and whoever wants to join the armed forces. We have not joined the armed forces to die for our country but we have joined the armed forces to make sure that the other person dies for his country. And for that we trained him to do whatever he takes and he makes sure that the other person dies for his country. I have no doubt that josh will be there, that regimentation, that sense of belonging and everything is part of our training,” he added.

“It will enhance the youthful profile of the armed forces and provide a fresh lease of josh (enthusiasm) and jazba (passion.) At the same time bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech savvy armed force.”

Moreover, Patnaik said the Agneepath scheme is different from the conscription military services in the United States of America, Russia, China, Israel and other countries. Apart from the duration the scheme is not mandatory as in other countries.

He said that the country stands to benefit immensely by the infusion of highly inspired youth with deeper understanding of self-discipline and diligence.

“Agneepath scheme for youth is a win-win-situation for the individual the joining the armed forces, for the forces who employs him/her and a win for the nation, so it’s not just a win-win situation, but a triple-win situation,” the Air Marshal said, adding that this major defence policy reform introduced by the government will usher in a new era in the human resource policy of the three services.

He said the policy which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrollment for the three services.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday announced the Agneepath scheme. Under the scheme a youth in the age group of 17.5 years to 21 would be eligible for entry in the armed forces.

The candidate must be at least class 10 pass and would have to undergo online, medical and physical tests. An entrant or Agniveers would serve in the armed forces for 4 years with a monthly salary of 30,000. Around 25 percent of the Agniveers would be retained based on their performance.

Recruitment drives would be held every six months across the nation on an all India basis and this year 46,000 Agniveers would be recruited. In the northeast there would be height relaxation for the candidates.

After their exit from the armed forces, the Agniveers would also get skill certificates based on their training and trade they were engaged in the service.

“This would provide India a skilled workforce to achieve its goal in Atmanirbhar Bharat, especially in defence production and other sectors, Patnaik added.

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