As a responsible opposition party, Congress must make efforts to have a ‘meaningful discussion’ in Parliament.
To enhance national security and development, the Government of India has introduced an extensive scheme of Agniveer for recruitment into the Indian defence forces. Regrettably, the government is currently confronted with a harmful campaign orchestrated by political adversaries, aiming to misguide and mislead young individuals who aspire to join the defence force with the noble intention of safeguarding the nation and its people. This campaign poses a serious threat to the nation’s security and progress, all in the pursuit of political advantage.
In light of the evolving landscape of warfare and geopolitical dynamics in the region, the Indian Defence Force is preparing for a significant modernization initiative. As countries undergo military modernization influenced by broader geopolitical changes, cutting-edge technologies like lethal autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, directed energy weapons, biotechnology, and quantum technology are emerging as crucial elements in the landscape of warfare. To meet this technical advancement power, the Government of India has introduced Agniveer’s scheme for defence recruitment, which aims at addressing critical gaps in the current system to ensure a stronger and more capable defence force.
Despite the noble objectives of Agniveer’s scheme, the Congress party has launched a campaign proposing a reversal of the Agnipath scheme. The Congress is strategizing to connect with 35–40 lakh young men and women who, on average, participate in recruitment rallies annually under the ‘Jai Jawan’ campaign and are driven solely by vote politics. This led to serious concerns about compromising national security and hindering the progress of our defence forces. It is imperative to recognise that national security and development should go beyond partisan politics.
Addressing grey areas and fine-tuning the process of the newly introduced Agniveer scheme is inevitable for better implementation. The government and triservice are committed to that. This commitment ensures that the scheme not only meets the current requirements but also evolves to meet future challenges. As a responsible opposition party, Congress must make efforts to have a ‘meaningful discussion’ in Parliament.
India aspires to become a global superpower and secure its position among the world’s elite armies. To attain this status, the modernization of its armed forces is imperative. In addition to that, ongoing conflicts related to unresolved boundary issues with China and Pakistan, instances of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the North Eastern states, the unbridled threat of left-wing extremism, and the escalating challenges posed by urban terrorism have significantly added complexity to India’s security landscape. To effectively combat contemporary warfare, India must equip its forces with state-of-the-art weaponry, technical competence, and a highly motivated, strong young force in the triservice.
Agniveer remains steadfast in its commitment to providing more power to the defence force. The government must act on policy changes that enhance living conditions, healthcare facilities, educational opportunities, service terms, and resettlement jobs to uplift the morale of Agniveers.
The bureaucratic red tape surrounding Indian defence decision-making poses a significant threat to the nation’s security. The cumbersome processes and delays caused by bureaucratic inefficiencies can potentially jeopardise timely and crucial decisions, creating vulnerabilities that may compromise the overall safety and defence capabilities of the nation.
A heartfelt plea to the citizens of our nation: With a background that spans from serving as a foot soldier to an officer engaged in warfare and accumulating 28 years of dedicated service as a veteran, I implore voters to transcend political tactics and acknowledge the pivotal significance of a robust defence, national priorities, and the prosperity of our beloved nation.
Also, I urge the political opposition to prioritise national security over short-term political gains. The party remains committed to its vision for a stronger, safer, and more prosperous India.
Lt. Col N Thagarajan (Veteran)
Lieutenant Colonel N. Thiagarajan is a distinguished geopolitical and defence analyst and boasts over three decades of experience in the Indian Army. His expertise lies in strategic analysis, military affairs, interpreting complex international relations dynamics, and assessing their impact on global security.