The recently announced Agnipath scheme, which involves recruitment of soldiers into the Army, Navy and Air Force on a four-year contract period, snowballed into a major controversy, with violence and arson being reported from at least 11 states.
Notably, while announcing the scheme, the Union government had said that the models from countries like Israel, United States, China, France, Russia, and Germany were taken into consideration while formulating the recruitment structure and modified according to the needs of the Indian armed forces.
Let's take a look at how these countries recruit armed forces:
1. United States
The US no more follows the conscription (compulsory military service) model. However, as per law, all male American citizens aged 18-25 are required to register for selective service in the armed forces so that at the time of need, a draft can be readily prepared.
In the US, a recruit gets enrolled for four years, and then they have to serve a four-year reserve period.
Followed by this, the person can opt for full-term military service. In this case they will be eligible for pension and other benefits, subject to serving in the armed forces for 20 years.
Moreover, for the first time, the US Army is offering a “quick ship” bonus of $35,000 in all career fields for new recruits, effective from 17 June. This comes with a four-year contract.
Additionally, the two-year enlistment option, also known as Option 26, is available for all eligible applicants.
An enlistee is required to serve two years in the regular army, followed by serving two years in either the Army National Guard or Army Reserve.
China has the world's largest military personnel and its active personnel stands at 21.80 lakh. The country spends $293 billion on its armed forces.
Under China's military service law, which follows the conscription model, all Chinese males aged between 18-22 years need to register themselves and have to enter selective compulsory military service.
For the army, conscripts have to serve for three years, while it is four years for the navy and the air force.
For those volunteering to enter military, the terms of active service is eight years and can go up to 12 years.
The country requires every Israeli citizen over the age of 18 who is Jewish, Druze or Circassian to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
Other Israeli Arabs, religious women, married individuals, and those deemed unfit medically or with mental health conditions, are exempted from compulsory military service.
Once they are enlisted, males are expected to serve for a minimum of 32 months and women are expected to serve for a minimum of 24 months.
There are four military service models in Russia – conscription, contract, alternative, and state civilian service.
The country follows a hybrid model of conscription and contract to recruit soldiers.
During the conscription period, which runs twice a year, from 1 April until 15 July (spring) and between 1 October and 31 December (autumn), all males aged between 18 and 27, who have no medical conditions or any outstanding convictions, could be called to serve in the armed forces.
For this age group, the country has enforced a mandatory 12-month conscription period in the armed forces.
As of March 2020, the number of conscripts stood at 2,25,000 and the number of contract soldiers was 4,05,000.
Germany discontinued its compulsory military service in 2011. As of now, anyone can join voluntarily.
The willing volunteers can also apply for contractual service and the initial terms of enlistment is between seven to 23 months.
The first six months are a probationary period during which either party can give notice of termination.
One must be at least 17 years old, should have completed compulsory full-time education and have German citizenship.