Antony seeks report on officers refusing higher training

May 21st, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony has sought a report from the Indian Army about the simmering discontent within its rank as in an unprecedented move around 15 senior officials refused to go for an elite training programme. Not satisfied with the recent recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the 15 colonels have refused to take up the Higher Command Course (HCC) and Higher Defence Management Course (HDMC).

“The minister has sought a report about the whole turn of events. This has never happened earlier in the army as being selected for the higher command course has always been considered a matter of prestige,” a defence official said.

The course is offered to outstanding commanding officers and is a mandatory requirement for promotion to Generals-rank.

HCC is conducted at the Army War College in Mhow and HDMC at the tri-service College of Defence Management in Secunderabad.

“The apparent reason as to why the officers are opting out of the course is that they do not want to sign a five-year bond of continuance in the army. They want to join the private sector with age on their side,” an army official said.

This has come as a rude shock for the Indian Army, which has been grappling with acute shortage of officers. Annually, the defence forces need 2,100 officers. It is currently facing a shortage of 11,238 officers. A total of 46,615 officers is the sanctioned strength.

The problem has further aggravated with as many as 3,000 officers seeking premature retirement just in the army in the last three years, with most moving to the corporate sector.

So much so, that the Army does not figure as a lucrative career option after the pay panel recommendations with as many as 108 seats lying vacant at the National Defence Academy in Pune.

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