New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on June 22 alleged the BJP government “which calls itself nationalist” was “weakening” the armed forces through the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to withdraw the military recruitment initiative just like he rolled back the farm laws.
Addressing Congress parliamentarians and legislators from across the country Gandhi said: “The spine of the country — small and medium industries — has been broken by the Modi government. I say to all those who train in the morning to get into the Army, Navy, and Air force that the prime minister has broken the spine of the country and this country will not be able to give jobs to its youth,” the former Congress chief said.
“No matter what the government does, it will not be able to give jobs as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has handed the country to two-three industrialists who cannot ensure jobs for the youth,” Gandhi said.
Now, they have “closed” even the last resort for the youth – to get into the armed forces, he said.
Gandhi said the youth of the country knows that real patriotism is about strengthening the armed forces and not weakening them.
Later in a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said the Chinese army is “sitting on the soil of India”. “Mr Prime Minister, true patriotism lies in strengthening the army, but you are weakening the army with a ‘new deception’. In this movement to save the future of the country, we are with the youth,” Gandhi said.
“I am saying again, you will have to take back ‘Agnipath’,” he added.
No rollback of Agnipath: NSA Doval
There will be no rollback of the Agnipath scheme as it is for the good of the armed forces and even the youth who get trained through it, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said. He also said there would be ample employment opportunities for Agniveers as, by the time they retire from the forces, India will have a $5 trillion economy and industries will be vying to employ disciplined trainable youth.
“There is no question of any rollback. This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This has been discussed for decades,” Doval told ANI.
“By the time Agniveer retires, India will be a $5 trillion economy. There will be a lot of opportunities in the private sector. Industries will want to hire people who are disciplined and trainable. Their biggest asset will be their young age. Their future is totally secure,” he added.