According to a report, the Indian Army is currently facing a significant shortage of officers at the Major and Captain ranks. To address this shortage, the army is considering various measures, including reducing the number of staff officers at headquarters and appointing re-employed officers to fill these positions.
In response to the officer shortage, the Indian Army has sought inputs from different commands regarding the proposed measures. Currently, mid-level officers at the rank of Major are typically assigned staff appointments in corps command and division headquarters after completing around six years of service.
Staff appointments involve postings in headquarters where officers are responsible for policy-making and coordination, while unit appointments focus on operational and ground actions.
The Indian Express report highlights that the Army is experiencing a shortage of 8,129 officers, including in the Army Medical Corps and Army Dental Corps. The Indian Navy also requires 1,653 officers, while the Indian Air Force needs 721 officers.
To mitigate the officer shortage, the army had previously posted 461 non-empanelled officers to staff appointments whenever possible.
The current proposal suggests temporarily reducing some staff appointments in headquarters until the officer shortage is resolved. It has been recommended that junior and mid-level officers currently serving in staff appointments be posted elsewhere once they complete their 24-month tenure.
The report from the Indian Express has gained attention in Indian political circles. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge shared the news report on Twitter and criticized the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to fill vacancies in the armed forces.
Kharge accused the Modi government of prioritizing the dismantling of political parties over filling crucial vacancies in the armed forces. He claimed that the Agnipath scheme is an acknowledgement that the government lacks funds for the country’s soldiers.
Furthermore, Kharge alleged that the Modi government mishandled the implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, betraying the defence community and creating divisions among the brave soldiers. He concluded by stating that national security is not a priority for the Modi government and accused them of betraying the people’s mandate.