‘Agnipath’ is the only way out to tackle belligerent PLA

Source : Hindustan Times

‘Agnipath’ is the only way out to tackle belligerent PLA
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For the past two years, more than 40,000 troops of Indian Army are deployed on 1597-kilometer-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in East Ladakh at median heights between 10,000-15000 feet facing Chinese PLA, arctic temperatures and howling winds. 

As Indian troops are deployed on mountain heights and ridgelines in contrast to Chinese PLA deployed on Tibetan Plateau in this sector, Indian Army will be required to do a troop changeover every three months as the elements and the ever-pressing enemy saps the mental and physical strength of the deployed soldiers.

With China in a wolf warrior mood under eternal leader Xi Jinping, it is quite evident that Indian Army will have to be deployed all along the 3488 km LAC for times to come. Since Indian Army is not expected to cover every square inch of the LAC with a soldier, the answer to the current situation is young and medically fit troops who have the technical capacity to monitor the LAC through surveillance devices rather than be on a 24X7 patrol.

While the figure of Indian troops and officers evacuated from the East Ladakh theatre is classified, fact is that Indian Army must prepare for high attitude deployments on all along the LAC, Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen sector and Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. And for that the answer is younger, fitter, and disciplined army.

The arson in parts of country including Bihar and Telangana after the Modi government announced the “Agnipath” scheme is counter to the very ethos of the Indian military. Arsonists cannot be expected to adhere to Indian army discipline and will run away from the battle-field when faced with Chinese armed drones or barrage of rocket and missile attack in the worst case scenario.Given the regional security situation, Indian Army will have to be extremely fit, disciplined and courageous to face the Chinese PLA, who have been provided with the best of military infrastructure and logistics near the LAC posts with hyper-baric chambers, bunkers in heated containers and all terrain vehicles.

The ” Agnipath” scheme is not only designed to lower the median age profile of the Indian Army but also to inculcate discipline and nationalism among the Agniveers for a better future ahead with minimum four years of training and technological expertise. 

“This is no longer an army that will be deployed in southern command but on mountain heights with low atmospheric pressure and oxygen. For that the only answer is a young jawan who is technology oriented to tackle the PLA all along the LAC,” said a Minister who is part of Cabinet Committee on Security.

A former Army chief with operational track record in the Eastern and Northern Command rubbished the militarization of society theory floated by retired Army officers who also believe that the “Agnipath” scheme will erode the World War I era regimental ethos of the Indian Army. 

“ If a commanding officer cannot regiment a jawan in first four months of his training, he is not worth commanding a unit what to talk about four years. For the past decades, we have been talking about compulsory military training in the country but now when the chance has come, we are resorting to arson by burning government property. How can an arsonist become a soldier?”

Over the years we have asked the Indian Army to do Sadhbhawana in operational theatres and Indian Navy and Air Force to do diplomacy with the neighbours through port and airbase visits and exercises. With China rising by the day, Indian military has to be battle-ready at all times as June 15, 2020 Galwan clash was an eye-opener.

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