The Union Government is not in favour of making military training compulsory to the youth of the country, Parliament was informed on Monday.
Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha that the government, though aware of the compulsory military training that certain nations around the world provide to their citizens, was not in favour of the idea as it would “lead to militarisation of an entire nation”.
“With our socio-political and economic conditions, it is highly undesirable, lest some of the unemployed youth trained in military skills join the ranks of the radical forces,” he said, giving out reasons for the government’s stand. India’s democratic polity and its Constitution that does not provide for such compulsory military training were also mentioned as the reasons. “... in our democratic set up, people are free to choose their professions... compulsion in respect of military training, it is felt, would go against the democratic ethos,” Antony said.
With the armed forces getting a large number of volunteers to draw upon, there was no problem in getting adequate number of recruits. All the youth of the country, therefore, do not compulsorily need to be given military training, he said.
Among the logistics and financial constraints, Antony noted that large number of training centres with adequate facilities would be required if everyone went for military training. “The likely benefits of imparting military training to all the youth will not be commensurate with the expenditure involved. This would translate into an unmanageable figure and will also be a big drain on limited resources of a developing country,” he said.
Moreover, the youth contribute to the productive workforce of the country and diversion of such workforce would be counterproductive for the nation as a whole, he said.