Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Agnipath, a short-term military employment scheme which has drawn criticism from some sections, is a transformative policy and a game changer in strengthening the armed forces and making them future-ready.
Addressing the first batch of Agniveers, the Prime Minister, while congratulating them on being the pioneers of the path-breaking Agnipath scheme, affirmed that the young Agniveers will make the Armed Forces more youthful and tech-savvy. Prime Minister addressed the first batch of Agniveers of the three Services, who have commenced their basic training, via video conferencing.
Hailing the potential of Agniveers, the Prime Minister said that their spirit is reflective of the bravery of the Armed Forces which has always kept the flag of the nation flying high. He said that the experience which they will acquire through this opportunity will be a source of pride for life.
The Prime Minister said that ‘New India’ is filled with renewed vigour, and efforts are underway to modernise the Armed Forces as well as make them ‘Aatmanirbhar’. He said that in the 21st century, the way wars are fought is changing. Discussing the new fronts of contactless warfare and challenges of cyber warfare, he said technologically-advanced soldiers will play a key role in the Armed Forces. He added the current generation of youth especially have this potential and so the Agniveers will play a leading role in our armed forces in the times to come.
The Prime Minister also spoke about how the scheme will further empower women. He expressed happiness at how women Agniveers are adding pride to the Naval forces, and said that he looks forward to seeing women Agniveers in all three forces. The Prime Minister also recalled how women are leading armed forces on various fronts, citing examples of woman soldier posted in Siachen and women driving modern fighter planes.
The Prime Minister said that getting posted in different regions will give them an opportunity to get diverse experiences and that they should try to learn different languages and also about different cultures and ways of living. He said that teamwork and honing of leadership skills will add a new dimension to their personality. He exhorted Agniveers to remain curious about learning new things while simultaneously working on bettering their skills in the fields of their choice. Hailing the potential of youth and Agniveers, the Prime Minister concluded by saying that they are the ones who are going to provide leadership to the nation in the 21st century.
In his welcome remarks, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken a number of decisions to empower the nation, terming Agnipath scheme as one of the most important and unprecedented reforms.
He asserted that strengthening the security apparatus of the country is the Government’s top-most priority amidst the ever-evolving global scenario and geopolitical uncertainty. In such a situation, the Agnipath scheme will make the profile of the Armed forces more youthful and tech-savvy, he said.
Singh added that all efforts are being made so that the Agniveers are able to serve the society, along with the Armed Forces, with their strength and knowledge. The scheme is a pioneering step towards building a strong and prosperous ‘New India’.
Defence Minister appreciated the fact that the scheme received encouraging response, with a large number of applicants turning up for the recruitment. He made special mention of the women Agniveers who are also being trained along with their male counterparts.
The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.