Home Muhammad Agnipath: Omen of a nascent chauvinism? | By Dr. Muhammad Irfan

Agnipath: Omen of a nascent chauvinism? | By Dr. Muhammad Irfan


Agnipath: Omen of a nascent chauvinism?

The MODI government recently announced a short-term recruitment program into the Indian Army seems a capricious move likely driven by dreams of regional hegemony.

As India’s Ministry of Defense claims, this program is mainly aimed at injecting various tech-savvy juveniles into the military to make it look a bit modern.

However, Agnipath would likely be part of a larger agenda that raised reasonable concerns of political and religious exploitation in India as well as the possibility of misuse of trained Agniveers to fuel insurgency and lawlessness in countries. rivals.

Protests have erupted across India since this new recruitment scheme was announced. Miners are more concerned about job insecurity at a time of massive unemployment as the Modi government has failed to deliver on its economic promises; must therefore rely solely on the exploitation of religious and ethnic diversity to prolong its reign.

The protest turned violent as the Indian Army refused to resume this recruitment scheme, it was feared protesters would attack the Indian Parliament and the Prime Minister’s house.

Delhi remains on high alert amid this chaotic situation. The Indian government announced a reservation of 10% of central government jobs for Agniveers who had served four years in the Indian army, but the move has yet to appease protesters.

The major Western economies of the world which had just begun to recover from the destructive effects of the corona pandemic are facing the blows of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which has led to an increase in the prices of petroleum products around the world, especially in Europe.

It is hard to see how this Agnipath program will help India economically if the move is primarily aimed at reducing the growing burden of permanent employment benefits and privileges.

Economists consider that this decision only adds to the massive unemployment existing in addition to the risk of the unemployed trained Agniveers falling into the hands of drug traffickers, criminal cartels and terrorist organizations.

Another question also raised by former military experts is whether Agniveers will have the same commitment and passion with the military as permanent employees?

Wouldn’t job insecurity and the fear of unemployment after four years of service afflict them? Would they be willing to obey orders despite knowing the future of their jobs?

The chaotic situation in the post-announcement scenario of short-term recruitment is one aspect of the problem.

The other aspects, such as political exploitation at the national level and misuse of trained force at the regional level, are of greater concern and give rise to serious apprehensions.

Political pundits hint at the possibility of political exploitation of Agniveers once they are well trained and unemployed after serving the four years of service.

The BJP has a history of exploiting anti-Pakistani and religious sentiments. Voices are also being raised against the Agnipath program in India and many see it as a plan to form the RSS to bolster the future endeavors of the BJP which plans to prolong its rule in India by pursuing Hindutva ideology.

India’s former Director General of Military Operations Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia (Retired) called the Agnipath program regressive and wasteful and felt that the Agniveers would be risk averse.

Jawhar Sircar, a renowned former Indian administrative service officer and prominent public intellectual of India, felt that Agnipath added to Modi’s list of inglorious mistakes.

Minorities in India, especially Indian Muslims, are facing the worst form of oppression one way or another since Modi came to power.

There are countless incidents of vandalism and mob lynching, especially against Muslims. Banning of Hijab and Adhan, profanity remarks by BJP leaders are the recent incidents of rising hate in India.

Minorities in India, especially Indian Muslims, fear that Agnipath is the long-term blueprint for the genocide of Muslims in the hands of skilled RSS workers.

Many renowned politicians have witnessed speaking publicly about the genocide of Muslims or their forced conversion to Hinduism.

Another Agnipath perspective is the strategic realignments in the midst of US China containment policy.

The question arises whether India can consider training its youth for a possible future war in the region?

The question also arises whether the China-India standoff, also known as Doklam Standoff, is the impetus for this move?

Is India afraid of a possible external invasion from China and therefore considering resilience at the mass level?

As part of the US-led QUAD, the introduction of this short-term Agnipath recruitment program by India would certainly raise valid concerns in China.

A similar move if reciprocated by countries in the region, especially China, would trigger alarm in the West, especially in the Quad countries.

Pakistan should also be more concerned about Agnipath as there are many negative aspects related to it.

Indian efforts for demographic change in the IIOJK in flagrant violation of UN resolutions are not hidden, they are settling Hindus in the valley.

Do they plan to use Agniveers in the same context? Indian interference in Balochistan is also a fact, the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav being a striking example.

The question is, can India consider using Agniveers to fuel the insurgency in neighboring countries?

Can India consider exploiting the situation in Afghanistan abandoned by the international community after the withdrawal of coalition forces?

Nothing can be ruled out regarding India as they have always dreamed of absolute power in the region.

Agnipath certainly cannot limit itself to simply getting rid of an additional burden on the Indian defense budget, it is certainly a decision that has several internal and regional dimensions that must be studied carefully.

Although the Indian army has denied taking over the Agnipath despite violent protests across India, the Modi government will ultimately have to kneel before the protesters if the situation drags on.

The concerns of unemployed youth are quite compelling in India’s prevailing mass unemployment and poverty circumstances.

In any case, the countries of the region, in particular Pakistan, must closely monitor the Indian decision and its possible strategic and security consequences.

Realignments in the region and the display of military might on the South China Sea issue are realities that are likely to escalate into full-scale conflict.

—The author is an Islamabad-based media analyst and quasi-columnist.