Updated: June 18, 2022 7:22:08 am
As authorities grappled with protests against the short-term Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces, the three services announced Friday that they were all set to start the recruitment process.
The Indian Army said a notification will be issued in the next two days while the Indian Air Force said the recruitment process will start June 24. The Indian Navy too said the process will begin very soon.
The announcements came a day after the government announced a one-time age relaxation for candidates this year, raising the upper age limit from 21 to 23 years.
On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the “relaxation of age indicates that the government cares for our youth”. He said the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence and the services “are committed to commence the recruitment process at the earliest” and “we invite the youth of our country to join the Indian Armed Forces and serve the nation through Agnipath.”
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Welcoming the age relaxation decision, Army chief General Manoj Pande said the notification for the recruitment process will be issued in two days and training will begin by December.
He told the ANI news agency that the “recruitment process is going to begin soon” and “within the next 2 days, notification will be issued” on the website joinindianarmy.nic.in.
“After that, our Army recruitment organisations will declare a detailed schedule of registration and rally. During this process, we will ensure that all the youth and aspirants get adequate time for registration and preparation,” General Pande said.
“As far as the question of Agniveers going to recruitment training centres is concerned, the training of the first Agniveers will begin this December,” he said.
In a statement earlier, the Army chief said the government’s decision to relax the upper age limit “will provide an opportunity for many of our young, energetic and patriotic youth who, despite the Covid pandemic, were preparing to join the recruitment rallies, which couldn’t be completed in the last two years due to Covid restrictions.” He asked the youth to “avail this opportunity for joining the Indian Army as Agniveers.”
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari also announced that the process to recruit Agniveers will begin next week. “I feel very happy that for the first recruitment the upper age limit has been raised to 23. This change will benefit the youth. I am confident that the youth will apply in big numbers,” he said. “The Air Force’s recruitment process will begin from June 24.”
The Navy, in a statement, said that the one-time waiver by the government “would facilitate entry of those youth who could not join the Armed Forces due to temporary stoppage of recruitment during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Navy said it is “ready to welcome the first batch of Agniveers in our service, for which the recruitment process will start very soon. We call upon all young men and women of our country to join the Indian Navy as Agniveers and contribute to national security and nation building.”
Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar told Times Now that the Navy intends to start training the Agniveers by November. He said the Navy Agniveers will also include women.
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