From Agneepath to the situation of LAC… Rajnath Singh became the Defense Minister for the second time, will have to work on these issues

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi. Like the previous government, Rajnath Singh has been made the Defense Minister in this NDA government as well. He is already keeping an eye on everything from the challenges of the ministry to pending projects. In his second term as Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh will have to focus on everything from Agneepath to Theater Command and from the situation on the LAC to reducing the import of weapons.

There has already been a delay in setting up a theatre command

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a 100-day agenda to all his ministers and asked them to work on it expeditiously. BJP has promised to create a theatre command in its manifesto. However, the process of creating a theatre command by combining the three forces has been going on for a long time. When the post of CDS was created and General Bipin Rawat became the first CDS, his work charter included the formation of a theatre command. Currently, there are 7 commands in the Indian Army, 7 commands in the Air Force and 3 commands in the Navy. The first proposal for the theatre command was to create four theatre commands by combining these 17 commands. In this, two theatre commands will be ground-based, which will be headed by army officers. There will be a maritime command for the borders adjoining the sea, which will be headed by a naval officer and an air defence command was proposed, which will be headed by an Air Force officer.

However, the Air Force had objections to this and the then Air Force Chief had also openly mentioned it on several occasions. There was no consensus on this and when General Anil Chauhan took over the post of CDS on 30 September 2022, a fresh proposal for theater command was put forward. It is believed that now there is a proposal to create three theater commands. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh can first focus on theater command during his tenure. There has already been a delay in creating a theater command.

Changes in Agneepath

The youth have been expressing their displeasure over the Agneepath scheme of recruitment in the army from the very beginning and this displeasure was visible from social media to the ground. Along with many retired soldiers, the opposition also kept raising questions on this. In the Agneepath scheme, youth are being recruited for 4 years and 25 percent of them will get a chance to become permanent. However, the army wants it to be increased from 25 percent. Also, the tenure of 4 years should be increased to 7-8 years. While regular soldiers get 90 days leave annually, Agniveer gets 30 days leave annually. Many questions have also been raised about this. If Agniveer is martyred, then there is a difference in the assistance given to his family and the family of regular soldiers. Rajnath Singh has already said that if there is a need for change in the Agneepath scheme, he will do it.

From LAC to import

The deadlock between India and China on the LAC in eastern Ladakh has been going on for four years. 21 rounds of Corps Commander level talks have taken place between the two armies. But since the deadlock began, there has been a constant discussion that there is a need to change the Rule of Engagement on the LAC. For four years, the LAC has remained a kind of LOC, where the deployment of troops remains. The situation of LAC is a big challenge even in Rajnath Singh's second term as Defense Minister. The previous government has taken steps towards self-reliance in the defense sector and now attention has to be paid to how to accelerate it. India is still the largest importer of weapons in the world. Warships are being built in India, from fighter jets to missiles are also being made, but reducing dependence on imports will also be a challenge this time.

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