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Agnipath initiative is a futuristic reform for fighting hi-tech wars of tomorrow — Doval

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According to NSA Ajit Doval, Agnipath is a proactive response to the changing nature of warfare (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

The Agnipath initiative of the Modi administration is fundamental to India’s military reforms, geared to fight the hi-tech wars of tomorrow, says National Security Advisor  (NSA) Ajit Doval.

In an interview with ANI Doval pointed out that the futuristic initiative is a proactive response to the changing nature of warfare.

“The whole war is undergoing a great change. We are going toward contactless wars, and also going towards the war against the invisible enemy. Technology is taking over at a rapid pace. If we have to prepare for tomorrow, then we have to change,” the NSA said.

Doval’s remarks follow violent opposition to the initiative in several parts of the country, apparently triggered mainly by a poor understanding of the major initiative.

“Broadly speaking, they (military reforms) come under the four heads. It requires equipment, it requires change in systems and structures, it requires change in technology, it requires change in manpower policies and they have to be futuristic, he observed.

The resistance to the Agnipath reforms, follows silent opposition to another pathbreaking initiative—the establishment of theatre commands that seek to pool in military assets of various service arms for use in integrated warfare of the future. 

“There's a need to look at it from a perspective. Agnipath isn't a standalone scheme in itself. When PM Modi came to power in 2014, one of his prime priorities was how to make India secure and strong. That required many avenues, many steps - multitude of them,” NSA observed.

“Security is a dynamic concept. It cannot remain static, it is only in relation with the environment in which we have to protect our national interest and national assets,” the NSA opined.

Doval stressed that the initiative is entirely non-discriminatory. “ Every youth of this country who has got the desire and motivation and feels a sense of commitment to defend the country gets an opportunity. His energy and talent are used to make this country strong”.

The NSA also asserted that contrary to motivated rumours, Agniveers, that is those recruited under the Agnipath blueprint,  will not change the fundamental structure of the armed forces. 

“Agniveers will never constitute the whole army. Those Agniveers who become regulars eventually will undergo intensive training, acquire experience over a period of time: NSA Ajit Doval on the training of Agniveers under Agnipath scheme.

Doval stressed that regimental structure—the core building block of the army—will not undergo any change following the new initiative. “As far as regiments are concerned, two things need to be understood. Nobody is tinkering with the concept of regiments...They (regiments) will continue...The regimental system has not ended…”

Responding to violence and arson that followed the announcement of the reform, Doval asserted that  democracy does not permit vandalism and was unacceptable. "I think that the protests, raising your voice is justified & is permitted in a democracy. But this vandalism, this violence is not permitted and will not be tolerated at all"

Given the fundamental importance of Agnipath to India’s national security, Doval made it plain that there is  no question of a rollback of the initiative.

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