Agnipath transformative policy, game changer in making armed forces future-ready: PM Modi
New Delhi: Addressing the first batch of Agniveers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asserted that Agnipath, a short-term military employment scheme, is a transformative policy and a game changer in strengthening the armed forces and making them future-ready.
A statement said Modi, in his virtual address, congratulated them on being the pioneers of this “path-breaking” scheme which, he noted, will further empower women.
He said the young Agniveers will make the armed forces more youthful and tech-savvy.
Technologically-advanced soldiers will play a key role in our armed forces, he said, adding that the current generation of youth especially has this potential and Agniveers will play a leading role in the forces in the times to come.
The prime minister said new India is filled with renewed vigour and efforts are underway to modernise the armed forces as well as make them ‘aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant). In the 21st century, the way wars are fought is changing, he said, speaking about the new fronts of contactless warfare and challenges of cyber warfare.
Lauding their potential, he said their spirit is reflective of the bravery of the armed forces which has always kept the flag of the nation flying high. The experience they will acquire through this opportunity will be a source of pride for life, he added.
“Hailing the potential of youth and Agniveers, Prime Minister concluded by saying that they are the ones who are going to provide leadership to the nation in the 21st century,” the statement quoting Modi said.
He said Agnipath will further empower women and expressed happiness at how women Agniveers are adding pride to naval forces.
The prime minister said he looks forward to seeing women Agniveers in all three forces, noting that they are leading armed forces on various fronts and cited examples of women posted in Siachen and driving modern fighter planes.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was also present at the interaction.
Under the Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14 last year, the three services are recruiting youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 years for four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.
For 2022, the upper age limit was raised to 23 years.
Opposition parties have criticised the exercise but the government has said it will make the armed forces more youthful and cater to its current needs.
In his speech, Modi told the recruits that getting posted in different regions will give them an opportunity to get diverse experiences and they should try to learn different languages, cultures and ways of living.
He said that teamwork and the 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.