'This is a matter of national security': Tri-services brief media again on Agnipath scheme

Air Marshal SK Jha said that the combat capabilities and readiness of the Indian Air Force are non-negotiable

A Defence tri-service briefing is underway chaired by Additional Secy Lt Gen Anil Puri, Dept of Military Affairs. Amidst the ongoing outrage over the Centre's Aginpath scheme, the Ministry of Defense on Tuesday said that it is a matter of the security of India.

Speaking to the media, Puri said that the Agnipath scheme balances three very important things, first, it maintains a youthful profile of the armed forces; second, now technical savvy and adaptable people can also join the Army; and third, it makes the individual future-ready.

The Additional Secy Lt Gen informed that the new recruitment scheme does not change the process, however, the aspirants have to submit a pledge that they were not involved in any kind of arson/vandalism during the ongoing nationwide protests against Agnipath involving angry youths.

"The regimental process will be unchanged... We will take an undertaking & aspirants have to submit a pledge that they were not involved in any arson/vandalism," ANI quoted Anil Puri as saying.

He said that the rumours of retired Armymen being sent to the Agniveer scheme are fake. "This is proven to be fake information," he added.

Puri further informed that the scheme will benefit the youth of India. No other country in the world has the demographic dividend as that of India, he said adding that 50% of India's youth is under the age group of 25 years and the Army should make the most of it as it is a matter of security of India.

"We have to be reflective of this demographic dividend," he said.

Speaking at the briefing about the induction of Agniveers to the Army, Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha, Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel (AOP), IAF said that Agniveers are being inducted gradually starting with 2% in the first year.

"The numbers will go nearly 6,000 in the fifth year & will be around 9,000-10,000 in the 10th year...Every enrollment in Indian Air Force will now take place through 'Agniveer Vayu' only," ANI quoted Jha as saying.

Speaking about the national security of India, the Air Marshal said that the combat capabilities and readiness of the Indian Air Force are non-negotiable adding that "the Indian Air Force and government of India will do everything that is required to keep us combat-worthy and combat-ready."

Further informing about the recruitment process in the India Air Force, Jha said that there is absolutely no change in the process of induction, entry-level qualification, examination syllabus, or medical standards.

"All enrollments in Air Force will take place only through Agniveer Vayu," he said.

Notably, IAF will start the online registration for all the candidates who are seeking to join Agneepath Scheme as Agniveer Vayu under Intake 01/2022, on 24 June 2022.

The Union Cabinet on June 14 approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three services of the Armed Forces called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

Under the scheme, people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. During this period, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

Following the announcement of the scheme, agitations broke out and a tense situation prevailed in various states. The protests took place in several states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Assam so far.

this is a developing story

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