Indian military which has an onerous task of defending the country's more than 15,000 kilometers long border and 7,500 kilometers long coastline is facing an acute shortage of officers.
Indian military forces may be acquiring firepower at a fast clip, but they surely lack in terms of manpower. Against a sanctioned strength of 74,000 officers, the Army, Navy and Air Force currently have only 65,000, limiting their ability to run their operations effectively.
This is a worrisome situation for the country that shares long boundaries with hostile neighbours and facing internal security challenges in border states in the north and northeast. Indian military forces have an onerous task of guarding the country’s borders stretching 15,106 kilometers and a 7,516 kilometers long coastline.
“There are three main reasons: harsh service conditions and everyday risk to life in the line of duty, pay and perks in the military and avenues for promotion are not as attractive as is the case with civil services and the third thing is the very attractive pay and package available in the corporate sector, these are the main reasons behind the shortage of officers,” Lt. General (retd) Rameshwar Yadav told financialexpress.com.
India which has 1.4 million active duty personnel in three branches of its military is surrounded by two hostile neighbours on its northern and western borders and has fought four wars with them and these border disputes with both Pakistan and China continue to simmer.
As per the latest official data, the authorised strength of officers in Indian Army in March 2018 was 50,028. However, even four months later, in July this year, there were only 42,734 officers. The shortage of 7,294 officers or 14.57% of the authorised strength.
In case of Indian Navy, as on October 2018, there were only 9,925 naval officers against the authorised strength of 11,415 officers, this is a shortage of 1,457 officers in Indian Navy or 12.76%.
It appears that among the three branches of Indian military, Indian Air Force is the only force that is able to attract the talent in a much better manner. As on 1st July 2018, Indian Air Force had 12,392 officers as against the sanctioned strength of 12,584 officers, a shortfall of just 192 officers or 1.52%.
Indian armed forces have adopted several strategies to fill the gap but they appear to be less than successful. Of late, the government has implemented several measures including increasing the allowances for difficult area posting but it has apparently failed to attract the required talent.