Indian Army looks for ‘A few Good Officers’

October 8, 2009

Special Forces in Indian Army facing acute manpower crunch

by Christina Palmer

New Delhi—Believe it or not, the otherwise world’s 2nd largest army is starving to have just a few good officers in its ranks despite having an overall strength of around 1,100,000 personnel, making it 2nd largest after China and its top brass has now decided to look out for a few good officers to be positioned to its special wings and even the volunteers with high mental and physical strength are being sought after.

According to a national English Daily of India, the Mid Day,The elite Special Force units of the Indian Army need a few extra hands. And the Army has decided to take a strong step.

The Army has planned to compulsorily send two passing-out officers to Special Force (SF) units to maintain the sanctioned strength. Two volunteers from each batch of Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers Training Academy (OTA) will be sent to the seven PARA (SF) units.
“SF units require men with very high mental and physical strength. Even highly trained officers from military academies fail to fulfill the criteria set by the Special Forces,” said a senior Army officer, wishing anonymity, writes the Mid Day Sources in the Army said, Mid day reports, almost 70 per cent of officers from Seven PARA have been deployed across the country. The PARA have a sanctioned strength of 35 officers but due to the decreasing number of new inductions, most of the units are functioning with only 10 to 12 officers. “These are specialised units and only the best can go through the training. Even though we are heavily short-staffed there is no question of compromising on quality.

Thus the existing strength is made to bear all the strain,” said the officer. The strain increases further as the existing officers are sent off to several schools related to battlefield training in the country to undergo mandatory courses and exercises. Consequently, the units are operating with an average strength of five to 10 officers at most times.  In some units there has not been any new induction in the last one-and-a-half year. “The criteria to join the SF units are tougher than in any other unit in the Army. More than half of the officers who opt for SF units are rejected in the 90 days probation period,” said an Army officer, wishing anonymity.

It remains a fact that most of the Indian army troops are fighting insurgency movements in around a dozen different parts of the country and are sick of this style of warfare. This has raised the level of frustration and depression amongst the officers and soldiers of the Indian army which has lead to the alarming ratio of suicides and killing of fellow colleagues by Indian Army personnel.

A recent article over at the BBC News website claims that the Indian army is loosing more soldiers to suicide than to enemy action. The statistics for this year alone are a bit weird. According to the article, over 72 soldiers have lost their lives in combat this year, but approximately 100 soldiers have committed suicide. So – what’s going on then?  It seems the key issue is leave, or rather the lack of it. Most experts attribute the growing stress to low morale, bad service conditions, lack of adequate home leave, unattractive pay and a communication gap with superiors. To quote from the article: “Soldiers get angry when they are denied leave and their senior officers themselves take time off. It triggers a reaction, they are well armed and they take their own lives.”  This one is certainly for the “Weird” category here. Just take a look at the following key statistics:-

Since 2004, 282 soldiers have been killed in militant attacks.

Since 2004, 408 soldiers have taken their lives, killed colleagues or died after colleagues ran amok of the 408 soldiers, 333 killed themselves.
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t this seem a bit wrong to you? Well armed (and trained) soldiers who get bitchy because their leave has been cancelled decide to a) retaliate using their well honed skills, training and equipment or b) kill themselves in protest.

Renu Agal of BBC Hindi service New Delhi describes this phenomenon in these words, “Nobody quite knows why Lt Col Jha pulled the trigger on himself – he had been serving in the military for the past 14 years. According to his mother, Lalita Jha, “there was no tension, no problems. I just can’t understand why he did it”.  He is far from the only soldier to take his own life this year – Capt Sunit Kohli, Maj Sobha Rani, Lt Sushmita Chatterjee… the list goes on. In fact, the Indian army is losing more soldiers in these incidents than in action against the enemy.
The army has lost 72 soldiers to enemy attacks so far this year. But over 100 soldiers have already taken their lives. In addition, another 32 have been killed by their colleagues.

What is happening to the army? The million-strong force is clearly under tremendous stress. Though it has not fought a full-blown war in decades, the force is bogged down in fighting domestic insurgencies, guarding restive borders and sometimes quelling civilian rioting.
Most experts attribute the growing stress to low morale, bad service conditions, lack of adequate home leave, unattractive pay and a communication gap with superiors. Retired Maj Gen Afsar Karim, who has fought three wars, says that the stress may be high among soldiers because of lack of leave.

“The army is involved in a [difficult] long running internal security environment. There is lack of rest and they get very little leave. Lack of leave increases his stress,” he says. “Soldiers get angry when they are denied leave and their officers themselves take time off. It triggers a reaction, they are well armed and they take their own lives.’’

Then there is the question of what many say is low pay – starting salaries in many jobs in middle-class India are double that of a new soldier, and for many of them the army no longer holds out the promise of a good life.  Retired Maj Gen Karim suspects that with the increase in numbers of soldiers, cohesiveness is being eroded. “In our times, we used to know the names of our soldiers, where they came from. We used to meet their families, but now the army has expanded manifold and this cohesiveness is gone,” he says, on what precisely is causing these soldier deaths.  Lalita Jha, mother of Pankaj Jha, hopes that she will find out more about her son’s suicide. “I am sure the army will look into the matter and find out what happened,” she says.

Before more soldiers take their lives, one hopes. Although the Indian Army top brass has now come up with a unique experiment of posting glam girls ( Prostitutes) to meet the natural desires of male soldiers, (http://www.dailymailnews.com/0909/08/FrontPage/FrontPage5.php) yet it is still looking for “a few good men” to care of its elite combat wings as nobody with a slightly higher caliber in the Indian army is not willing to serve there.

Daily Mail



  1. good, we dont have to do anything then, just wait it out. 🙂

  2. LOL indian army is going through menopause LOL

    • lol good one

    • at least indian army does not know how to surrender. 90,000 pak soldiers surrenderd on 71. wow! world record

      • hahahahahaha
        Indian army cant stand in front of an army 1/5th of its size 😀
        Dont you remember the 1965 war where u people had to eat dust???
        U sound like a common hyporcytic Indiot faggot 😀

      • Indiot army can only take on poor weaponless Kashmiris 🙂

      • in 65, u started the war, we ended it

  3. pakistani jang shuru kar sakte hain
    par sirf indi jung khatm karta hai

  4. totall BS..they have infiltrated us in Swat and baluchistan and you come up with this.

  5. india has other jobs than infiltrating your land which is infetile and immune to any type of development

    • oh really? do you have any other job than infiltrating and disruption pakistani blogs? 🙂

      • once u guys stop writing lies about us, we will leave u alone.

      • once you stop being an asshole, we’ll stop writing about you. 🙂

      • the www is not your sole property.i think this blog would not have materialized without the help of software companies of india

        so stop saying that it is your blog.

      • loll.. i love it when Indians think, everything is because of India or from India, reminds me of that “Goodness Gracious Me” skit, where the Indian father claims in front of the son, that even the British royal family is Indian. lolll,haha, dude change ur nick to yoyo man. hahaha

  6. @ imtiazipakistan

    why do write so much crap about indians?
    do u suffer from THAT much inferiority complex?

    • @sal,
      why are you here? Do you suffer from THAT much insecurity?

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