India short of over 1 lakh soldiers, 9,000 officers in defence forces: Govt
India is short of more than 9,000 officers and over 1,00,000 soldiers in the Army, Air Force and Navy even as the country tackles two enemies simultaneously.
The maximum vacancy of 7,912 officers was in the Indian Army followed by 1,190 vacancies in the Indian Navy and 610 in the Indian Air Force, the Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
This comes at a time when India has been battling China's People's Liberation Army on the northern and eastern borders, particularly in Ladakh while there is a sign of revival on terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir despite the uneasy calm on the western front.
Bhatt said the Centre had taken a number of steps to increase the recruitment numbers in the armed forces including improvement in the promotion prospects. But the shortfall goes beyond the officer cadre incorporating ordinary soldiers and medical doctors.
For instance, there is a vacancy of 109,671 soldiers in all the three services with Indian Army topping the list with 90,640 vacancies followed by the Indian Navy (11,927) and the IAF (7104). In the medical and dental branch where doctors are recruited as officers, there is a vacancy of 444 officers along with 693 nurses in the military nursing service.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry informed the Parliament that 29 women officers who didn't opt for the Permanent Commission in the Army were released from the service. Out of 29, three officers were released without pension based on their willingness as they had served between 10-14 years, Bhatt said.