HYDERABAD: Former state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre of jeopardising national security by not filling up vacancies in the armed forces and also by reducing the annual intake.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, Uttam Kumar Reddy said there was a huge shortage of manpower in the three forces — the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Instead of filling up all vacancies, he said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had reduced the annual intake in armed forces by almost 25 per cent.
Referring to a written reply given by the ministry of defence on his question in the Lok Sabha on Saturday and another question raised by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on July 18, Uttam Kumar Reddy said the defence ministry, in its reply to the question raised by Kharge, informed that the three armed forces had a shortage of 1,35,784 personnel. It informed that there were 1,16,464 vacancies in the Army, followed by 13,597 in the Navy and 5,723 in the Air Force.
"As a former Air Force fighter pilot who served on the country’s borders, I am deeply concerned that the manpower shortages and lower quality and quantity of intake through the ill-conceived Agnipath scheme will seriously jeopardize national security," Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
The average annual recruitment, as per the information given by the defence ministry, was 60,000 in the Army, 5,332 in the Navy and 5,723 in the Air Force. However, he said the Centre had now reduced the intake by almost 25 per cent. Through the Agnipath scheme, the Centre proposed to recruit only 45,000 personnel in the Indian Army and 3,000 each in the Navy and Air Force, he said.
"For the first time in history, India is facing a war-like situation on two fronts on the Pakistan and China borders. Therefore, by not filling up the vacancies and reducing the intake, the Modi government is jeopardising national security. This will harm the operational preparedness of our armed forces," he said....