All applicants aiming to join the three services under the 'Agnipath' military recruitment scheme will have to give an undertaking that they were not part of any protest, arson or vandalism, a senior military official said on Sunday.
The comments by Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, came amid violent protests against the new model of recruitment of soldiers into the three services.
The government on Tuesday announced the 'Agnipath' model of recruitment under which soldiers will be inducted into the three services for four years with a provision of retaining 25 per cent of them for an additional 15 years following a selection process.
"The foundation of the Indian armed forces is discipline. There is no space for arson. There is no problem if you show your anger and engage in talks. But there is no space for arson and vandalism," Lt Gen Puri said at a tri-services media briefing.
He said every individual wanting to join the three forces through the 'Agnipath' scheme will have to give an undertaking that they were not part of any protest, arson or vandalism.
Lt Gen Puri said the youths who are part of the arson and violence against the scheme will not be able to join the three services as a police verification process will be carried out before enrolling anyone under the scheme.
"Every individual who wants to join the armed forces through the 'Agnipath' scheme they will have to submit a pledge that they were neither part of any protest nor were involved in any violence. Nobody can join the forces without police verification..We have made the provisions," Lt Gen Puri said.
He also claimed that the protestors were instigated by "inimical forces" as well as some of the coaching institutes.
Lt Gen Puri said around 70 per cent of the aspirants studying in these coaching centres to prepare for entry into the armed forces are from villages.
"They were studying taking loans. They were given assurances by these coaching institutes and they have significant contributions in sending them to the streets," he said.
Lt Gen Puri also appealed to the youths to start preparing for the recruitment tests, saying it is not easy to clear the physical fitness tests. "The Army, Navy and Air Force are giving time of 45 to 60 days to the youths to prepare for the physical fitness tests and understand the terms and conditions so that you are ready to join us," he said.
The tri-services media briefing at the headquarters of the defence ministry took place hours after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with the chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force for the second straight day.
Lt Gen Puri said the major reform initiative in the armed forces has been introduced to bring down their age profile and it has been finalised after years of deliberations and studying the recruitment process in several countries.
At the press conference, the three services announced a broad timeline for recruitment of the youths under the 'Agnipath' scheme.
Unveiling the scheme on June 14, the government had said youths between the ages of 17 and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure under the scheme.
The government on Thursday night increased the upper age limit for recruitment under the 'Agnipath' scheme to 23 years from 21 for the year 2022.
The announcement of the new scheme came in the backdrop of recruitments into the military remaining stalled over the coronavirus pandemic for two years.
The Army annually recruits 50,000 to 60,000 soldiers.
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