Career in Indian Armed Forces

Afew decades ago, a career in the Indian Armed Forces was the Indian royalty’s primary choice of profession. Widely regarded as a respectabl...

Afew decades ago, a career in the Indian Armed Forces was the Indian royalty’s primary choice of profession. Widely regarded as a respectable and prestigious profession, the Armed Forces held a special charm, in spite of the risk that is associated with protecting one’s country.
However, in the recent past, one can’t help but wonder at the growing lack of interest shown by the country’s urban youth when it comes to opting for a career in the Armed Forces.
Is the overpowering lure of ‘power- andmoolah’ that is leading them to set their sights on upward material gain? Have students forgotten or are they simply unaware of the fact that the very reason we are able to practice our constitutional rights and choices as citizens of a democratic India, is largely due to steadfast dedication of the Indian Armed Forces? “I think we have reached this stage over the last fifteen to twenty years,” explains Retd Colonol Jai Kumar.“The reasons can be classified on two levels – one, where we can blame the non-proactive stance adopted by the AF to reach out to the citizens, failing to utilise various media tools to spread awareness; and second, is civilian apathy towards the Armed Forces, with our failure to imbibe a sense of national integrity and service in the youth.” So, what are the more specific reasons that have resulted in the Indian AF, esteemed as the world’s third largest, taking a backseat to other professional courses?
“Many of us may have considered the Armed Forces, but the truth is, while there is ample information about other careers, there’s hardly any information about the Armed Forces. If I did want to know more, I wouldn't know where to go!”reasons advertising professional and art director, Behzad Gazder.
Narendra Agarwal did take the initiative to join the Armed Forces.“I had applied to the IAF via the NCC Air Wing because of my love for flying and my sense of patriotism.But before I could enroll for the training, the dream weaned away because of various anti air-force sentiments caused by the media reporting MIG crashes. The compounded with the fact that I wasn’t confident that I’d fit in with the lifestyle and rigid disciplinarian atmosphere, triggered my decision to withdraw my dream,”he explains.
Concuring with Narendra’s opinion, SYMCom student, Aditya Naik says, “The National Defence Academy only accepts students who have completed their class 12 in the science stream, so it was too late for me.Also, the negative feedback on TV gets one rather skeptical –be it about alleged rowdy behaviour by officers or corruption within the forces or the use of outdated technology causing mishaps.”
Rachita Sawant had to forfeit her dream of joining the Armed Forces only because she didn’t have any information about career options available for women! “Had I known that the doors of the Armed Forces were opened to women in 1992, with women being inducted as regular officers in aviation, logistics, law, engineering, medical and executive cadres, I would amidst them right now,”she laments.Additionally,
women in the non-medical cadre serve as Short Service Commissioned (SSC) officers for five to fourteen years.Eligible women, who qualify through various tests, can serve in the Army, Navy, Air force and Coast Guard.The SSC option is open to all.
Adds student and MBA aspirant, Ambrish Kumar,“The pay scales just don’t match with the private sector.If I choose a life where I wouldn’t get to live with my family, be posted in faroff regions and live with a sense of danger, I would like to at least be compensated financially.Nothing compares with the sense of pride when you’re serving your nation, but at the end of the day, its sustenance that also counts.”
So basically, does it boil down to a lack of awareness and inadequate monetary compensations that has led to civilians looking to the Armed Forces for a career? One must also consider that this is not just an Indian phenomenon – Armed Forces worldwide are facing shortages of officers. The economic boom in India, caused by the burgeoning tertiary sector and globalisation plays a big role. Economics has been known to guide international doctrines and strategies, even those related to war.
“The whole sense of glamour in challenge is lost, as forms of warfare are changing from all-out conventional war to more low intensity conflicts.During the World Wars, people fought against tyrants.In the late twentieth century, we entered the jet and space age; there was a major sense of challenge within the military forces, leading to the invention of nuclear submarines and advanced systems.Even the Internet was born out of military requirement.But today, there seem to be no more challenges – even space travel is ordinary news! Our society is leaning toward hedonism and the youth take more pride in becoming rockstars,”laments Group Captain SLV Tripathi, IAF.
“Though there are some obvious shortcomings, I believe these are more than negated by the benefits,” explains Naval Lt Rajouri.“For starters, any workplace caters to its business, not the comforts and preferences of its employees.Hence, there will always be areas that lack the feel-good factor in any organisation.What the Armed Forces needs to revamp its image with proactive public relations! We tend to react only while undertaking crisis management.Due to the obvious nature of our work, security requirements are utmost, hence we can’t adopt an all-open-to-media policy! But, for us to redeem our image and attract the youth, we need PR on two levels – firstly, to do away with incorrect public notions based on distorted facts; and secondly, to provide ample and timely information about various aspects of the Armed Forces.”
A valid point indeed.The Armed Forces could definitely do with a bit of both – image overhauling and information-flow.How many of us are aware that the Indian Army is the second largest in the world, with a workforce of over a million? Or that our Air Force is the world’s fourth largest with over six hundred combat aircrafts? Or that our Navy, the seventh largest globally, comprises forty-one surface combatants and eighteen submarines? And for those struck with wanderlust, here’s a flash: naval officers with under ten years of service have visited over sixteen nations!
Armed Forces world over, hold the Indian Armed Forces in great esteem for their professionalism – code of conduct, discipline and handling of security-related situations.India’s ethical outlook and conduct vis-à-vis the war against prolonged insurgency is highly respected everywhere.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, there are lucrative non-monetary benefits that the Armed Forces provides, including free medical treatment, travel, education, overseas training, the opportunity to travel, clean and disciplined environments, pensions, subsidised food etc.As for careers in the Armed Forces- the scope is tremendous for men and women- both during the tenure as well as later- with excellent job opportunities in India and overseas. For more information, log on to, or



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Higher Study : Career in Indian Armed Forces
Career in Indian Armed Forces
Higher Study
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