Ram Rattan Sharma
Defense is an important and integral part of the life of a nation. For centuries, wars have been fought between different peoples. Even in modern times, wars have not been removed from life. In some part of the world or other, two nations have been at war with each other for the past decade or two. Many developed countries also spend large sums on defending their borders. In the name of defense, they have accumulated weapons of war. New techniques and new technologies are used to make weapons. In short, every nation is interested in building up its military power. Defense preparedness diverted huge sums to defense when they could have been used for progressive measures and development projects. When importance is given to military power by some nations, it is quite natural that other nations, especially in contiguous parts, also think of improving their defense. military power and whether to give military training to its youth without delay. For any country, a permanent armed force is essential. Each nation has its own army, air force and navy. A lot of money is spent recruiting people for these defense wings set up for their upkeep and development. These forces are supposed to defend the country. But we feel that a second line of defense would be necessary. Many believe that mandatory military training should be provided to our young people. This is based on the experience of other countries.
Compulsory military training is just one of the ways in which young people could make themselves useful to their country. It is said that in many foreign countries such training is given when young people reach a certain age. They must give up any occupation they might be doing at the moment and take a course in military science. University students or factory workers may, if they wish, return to their original profession after completion of training, or take a regular course in military science. Such training helps them to defend their country in an emergency, when there is pressure on the regular armed forces. This training is compulsory for all able-bodied people. Apart from this aspect, military training is useful in other ways. Life in our country today has become notorious for acts of violence and indiscipline in many areas of life in many regions. Regionalism, communalism and linguistic and religious fanaticism breed indiscipline and chaos. Under these circumstances, military training will be of great value in making everyone understand the value of discipline. Military training is useful in many other ways. The sense of discipline that is instilled in youth. The habit of service, devotion and selfless work also helps people in peacetime activities, when there are natural calamities like floods, earthquakes and drought, those who serve in the forces armies can help people in distress. They can be expected to be prompt and efficient in the discharge of their duty and in carrying out any work that may be assigned to them. If the country is to derive any worthwhile benefits from it , compulsory military training must be an indispensable factor of life . The advantages of compulsory military service far outweigh the disadvantages and India should legislate this provision. The length of training or retraining is another issue to consider. There are ways around any obstacle, studying the experiences of other progressive nations would help refine the optimal scheme for our country, as nations have traditionally taken different approaches to conscription, mostly dictated by their geo-strategic constraint and historical lineage. Pure democracies have tended to opt for purely voluntary military service, which certainly has its drawbacks of a more committed military cadre. But when you look at the larger context, there seem to be definite benefits to considering mandatory tenure for young people in our country. There are different formats of military conscription that are seen. We have the Singapore/Turkey model, where young boys are forced to do two years of military service after school, with some kind of refresher every year. Then you have the Israeli model, where both boys and girls are exposed to compulsory military service. . India had the National Cadet Corps [NCC] in place for eons now and which has had a positive contribution to the psyche of the overall national discipline of our citizens. But the NCC is not compulsory, especially in private schools, although the existing format offers young people a limited opportunity to pursue a military career later in life. Some nations, like the United States, during the Vietnam War or even in peacetime had a system where military service offers certain prerequisites such as higher education or even citizenship for immigrants. In his experience, one has seen tremendous drive and discipline in young people doing their military service. While the sense of civic responsibility and respect for the law are winning, we even see an additional respect for the uniform among those who wear it and the citizens who benefit from this measure we even see young people choosing to marry their uniform, which I think is highly desirable. Once the powers that be were convinced of the overwhelming benefits of compulsory military service, a number of governments incentivized. policies could be put in place to promote the program from monetary to promotional aspects. We must consider the larger objective of inculcating the national spirit and a specific civic spirit. After the horrors of two world wars and the advent of nuclear weapons, it was believed that all wars were over, but Ukraine showed the opposite. It is not without reason that modern developed nations spend wisely on their defense capabilities. What better example than the quantum leap in German defense spending, after the war situation in Europe
In order to understand the importance of military training, it was the spirit that enabled Sir Winston Churchill, the worthy soldier statesman of England to emerge victorious from the Second World War. Napoleon’s daring exploits could also be attributed to his military discipline, it was the spirit that prompted Maharana Partap and Shiva ji to fight against the evil deeds of their enemies. Indeed, military training is useful in many ways. Therefore, if we really want to make India a great country i.e. free from all the evils of corruption, nepotism and selfish interests, it is high time we gave military training to our young people and make them true soldiers and saviors of the motherland. It would also serve as a second line of defense during wars or troubles or cries. The three attacks by China and Pakistan in 1962, 1965 and 1971 forced Indian leaders to think seriously about the problem.
(The author is former Dy Librarian University of Jammu)