Govt rejects compulsory military training; says unemployed youth could join militants - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 25 July 2014

Govt rejects compulsory military training; says unemployed youth could join militants

Meanwhile NCC training rises, enrolment to cross 18.5 lakh students

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 26th July 14

The government walks a tightrope between inculcating military discipline and physical fitness in the country’s youth, whilst also safeguarding against a militarised society from where extremist groups can draw on disgruntled youngsters with military training.

While the defence ministry expands the National Cadet Corps (NCC) from 1,500,000 students countrywide to 1,850,000, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament on Friday that the government does not favour compulsory military training.

He was responding to Karnataka Member of Parliament (MP), CS Putta Raju. Several MPS have made similar proposals over the last five years. Three private member bills have sought compulsory military training. This includes one from Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, minister of state for railways in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, and now Congress Party president in West Bengal.

Mr Jaitley rejected compulsory military training for four reasons. First, it would violate India’s “democratic ethos”, where people are free to choose their professions. He said, “The Constitution does not provide for compulsory military training”.

Second, this might militarise India’s fragile society. In a startling admission, Mr Jaitley declared: “With our socio-political and economic conditions, (compulsory military training) is highly undesirable, lest some of the unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of the undesirable elements.”

The government’s apprehension about its citizens contrasts with the United States, where the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the rights of individuals to keep and carry arms. This is justified through citizens’ right to self-defence, the right to resist oppression (including by the state), and the civic duty to come to the defence of the state. Passed in 1791, this one-sentence amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Jaitley’s third objection to compulsory military training is that, the armed forces have “no problem in getting adequate numbers of volunteer recruits.”  Therefore, there was no need to provide military training across the board.

Last, the government’s reply noted that training youth across the country would involve enormous expense and infrastructure creation. “The likely benefits of imparting military training to all the youth will not be commensurate with the expenditure involved in such an effort,” he said.

While compulsory military training carries ominous overtones, the government has steadily expanded the NCC, which includes military and weapons training. Last September, at an apex NCC council meeting, the UPA minister of state for defence, Jitendra Singh, suggested “including aspects of the NCC syllabus into the curriculum of all schools and colleges.”

The demand for NCC training is strong. Last September the defence ministry stated that 4613 schools and 2764 colleges are on the waiting list for NCC training, with some having applied 25 years ago. To meet that demand, the NCC is upgrading 153 “minor units” to battalion strength. This would allow training to be extended to some 3200 institutions on the waiting list, and increasing the NCC’s strength to 18.5 lakhs.

Also being explored is a “self-financing model”, in which out of turn sanction would be provided to private schools willing to pay the full cost of NCC training.


  1. good decision

  2. where does jaitley mentions about youth joining terrorists ??
    he said & i quote

    "unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of the undesirable elements"..

    "undesirable elements" can well include the likes of you for duping the indian citizens.

    undesirable elements not seeing a future in the forces can always start a blog & start bickering.

    PS - have you ever considered joining kejriwal's outfit ?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. @ prateek

    If you don't understand what Jaitley meant when he said "undesirable elements", you should not be visiting this blog at all.

    Most people who visit Broadsword have an above average IQ. You clearly fall in the "well below average" category. So don't waste your time and mine.

    Go and read Saamna.

  5. hmm have some sense of humor Ajai. see the lighter side of prateeks comments

  6. Even without "military" training we have our "George of the Jungle" types aplenty planting IEDs, attacking police stations etc. The Salwa Judum was another example of how NOT to arm the citizenry.

    In a country like India with millenia of ethnic tensions, hundreds of large communities, caste systems and political ideologies, the ability to organize and gather a large number of trained individuals should not fall into the hands of any private actors for their own needs.

    Considering the state of training our "reserve police forces" get and the average constable has, it would indeed by frightening to have hundreds of millions of militarily trained youth out and about in society; some eager to test their skills to prove themselves or desperate enough to do so for private gain or take up arms in the name of some popular cause or disaffection with the government or society at large.

    The staggering homicide rate in the USA -especially the mass shootings and misguided religious and racial violence, despite its massive presence of "law-enforcement" all across, is one example of the "success" of the US Constitution's 2nd amendment.


  8. NCC is very useful and it must also include some Indian Military history apart from weapon training

  9. @ Anonymous 10:42

    There isn't a lighter side to those comments... only a stupider side.

  10. Caliphate protocol... not finding... required numbers... wants... GoI to sponsor... own demise...

  11. The govt is correct in its decision. Indeed India is a free nation, must allow liberty of thoughts & choices.
    Instead of compulsory military service, role & scope of armed fores can be increased by more augmented and active role of NCC, its recognition & application on daily lives. Also the Army managed educational institutes like Sainik Schools & vocational training should be expanded.
    In present scenario, where social structure is factional, and misaligned, military skill to all will be indeed dangerous, and may cause harboring of suck skillsets by undesired elements. As a safety measure, military service should be only as permanent employment for screened and shortlisted person, as it is done now.

  12. Hi Ajai. Looking at the funnier side,Govts not wrong. But it shows a sense of reality about the fact that our political class knows that this country is a keg. Imagine if home trained Hindus decided to square off against jihadis ...that would wipe out one partys vote bank and others reason to exist

  13. Ghorcharrah Gabbar30 July 2014 at 11:55

    While military training of the citizenry may have its pros and significant cons, I feel it is more important that military 'virtues' such as discipline, obedience, punctuality and fitness be propagated through 'compulsory' universal military training. This could be through compulsory NCC training upto B-level at all Govt-funded schools and colleges. Private educational institutions should be eligible for grants and concessions based on their subscription to NCC cadre.

    Similarly I feel that all Gazetted officers in the Central and State Govts MUST, MUST serve in the regular armed forces for atleast three years before their induction into the Central and State Civil Services or as it may be, the Police / Paramilitary forces.

    Non-Gazetted cadre in Central / State Govts too must be exposed to military service either as 'C' Certificate holders in NCC, or as Territorial Army cadre or by serving a minimum of two years in a combatant unit of the Regular Armed Forces.

    The national benefits will be tremendous.


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