Known to not always toe the party line on contentious issues, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari has backed the Centre’s newly announced Agnipath recruitment process for the armed forces. Even as youngsters aspiring for a career in the army stage protests in many parts of the country, Tewari said while he understood their concerns, he feels that India “needs a younger armed forces”.
Expressing his view on the issue, which seemed divergent from the position of his party, the Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib said on Twitter, “I do empathise with youth who have concerns over Agnipath recruitment process. Reality is India needs a younger armed force with lighter human footprint savvy on technology, equipped with state of art weaponry. Armed forces of Union shouldn’t be an employment guarantee programme.”
I do empathise with youth who have concerns over Agnipath recruitment Process.Reality is India needs a younger armed force with lighter human footprint savvy on technology, equipped with state of art weaponry. Armed forces of Union shouldn’t be an employment guarantee programme
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) June 16, 2022
Tewari said there was a need for a younger armed forces as modern-day warfare had become more technologically advanced. The MP said the army must have a “lighter footprint”. According to media reports, he has said the Agnipath scheme was a reform in the “right direction”.
The central government’s announcement has been met with opposition by the Congress, with senior leader Rahul Gandhi saying there is “no stable future” for those who opt for this scheme. He also said this was a sign that the Narendra Modi-led government had no respect for the army.
On Wednesday, he tweeted: “No rank, no pension, no direct recruitment for 2 years, no stable future after four years, no respect shown by the government for the army.”
The Congress has demanded the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme, even as the government issued a clarification stating that the new model will not only bring in new capabilities to the armed forces but also open up avenues in the private sector.
Other opposition parties, too, chimed in. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav called the move “negligent” and potentially “fatal” for the country’s future.
With inputs from News18