Highlights

  • Comparison of military recruitment models in various countries
  • India announced Agnipath scheme in addition to 2 older models
  • Aspirants protesting against Agnipath over short tenure, lesser benefits

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Agnipath: how USA, China, Russia, Israel recruit soldiers | Military comparison amid India protests

With Agnipath scheme sparking protests in many parts of India, here's a look at how USA, China, Russia, Israel, and France recruit soldiers - from compulsory conscription, to voluntary induction, and contractual service.

With the new Agnipath programme of military recruitment causing widespread protests in India, let's take a look at how some other countries induct soldiers into their armed forces.

The United States of America has a voluntary armed force, like India. Most American soldiers serve for 4 years, and their tenure can be extended for 4 more years. Soldiers can also apply for full service, and they become eligible for benefits like pension after serving for 20 years.

In China, all males aged 18+ have to register for military service. Around 4.5 lakh soldiers are inducted into the Chinese People's Liberation Army every year. Many serve for 2 years after being trained for 40 days. Those serving for 2 years get tax and loan benefits. Some soldiers are promoted to permanent service.

ALSO WATCH | Agnipath vs Short Service Commission vs Permanent Commission in Indian armed forces: comparison

Russia has a hybrid conscription and contract model. Soldiers get 1-year training and then serve for a year. After this, they are added to reserve force ranks. From this pool, permanent recruitment is done. Recruits get education opportunities and benefits.

Israel has compulsory military service, and recruits are given basic training. Males have to serve for 32 months, while females have to serve for 24 months. Subsequently, soldiers are placed in reserve, and can be called as per requirement. 10% of the recruits are inducted for long-term service. This involves a 7-year contract. Soldiers are eligible for pension after 12 years of service.

Meanwhile, France follows various recruitment models. Some soldiers are inducted on contractual basis. Renewable contracts range from 1 year to 5 years. Soldiers are trained for 3 months. Pension benefits kick in after 19 years of service.

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The details of foreign armies were reportedly released by the government to fight criticism of the Agnipath scheme.

Under the recently-announced programme, recruits called Agniveer will be inducted into the forces for 4 years of service, with around 25% being eventually transferred to the regular cadre.

The government said that the scheme would infuse youth power into the forces, while also providing valuable experience and skills to recruits. The Narendra Modi administration had initially announced an age window of 17.5 to 21 years, but then declared a one-time relaxation in the upper limit to 23 years.

Protesting aspirants are worried about employment and benefits like pension. They feel that the new scheme will leave them in limbo after 4 years. The government has claimed that they will get preference for many government jobs, and also assistance if they want to start their own work. Also, earlier models of recruitment like permanent commission and short service commission will continue.

However, it is not just aspirants who are opposing the scheme. Many veterans of the armed forces have raised questions regarding the Agnipath programme, claiming that it will reduce the operational preparedness and impact organisational effectiveness of the military.

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