Why are more Indian soldiers killing themselves than being killed?

Indian military is considered one of the top class militaries of the world. It has been ranked 4th strongest military in the world. However, the reports on the suicidal attempts by the soldiers have not only alarmed India but have made the world wonder upon the matter.

According to the Times of India, each year more than 100 military personals tend to commit suicide. India, for now, is engaged in three internal wars in the regions of Jammu & Kashmir and Chattisgarh. However, the statistics revealed that fewer soldiers are killed in the war than they are being killed by themselves.

The latest and official statistics that were revealed by the Home Minister in the Parliament shows that since 2012-18, 189 soldiers belonging to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), have killed themselves while during the same period only 175 were killed in the war.

Collective number of men killing themselves belonging to  Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force CISF), Seema Sashtra Bal (SSB), CRPF and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in last 6 years have tolled to 700.

The Home Minister also briefed about the Statistics about the jawans, the Hindi term for non-officers. The highest ratio of suicide is among the SSB. Each year where one SSB jawan is killed in the war, 8 tend to take their own lives. This 1:8 is indeed something that needs attention.

Those who are not willing to take their lives, opt for an early voluntary retirement. Each year around 9000 paramilitary men opt for retirement and search for better jobs.

There was an even more damning revelation in Parliament last month. Hansraj Ahir told that in the three Maoist-affected states: diseases like malaria, heart attack, and dengue along with suicidal deaths killed 15 times more soldiers than in anti-Maoist areas.

What is the reason behind the high suicidal rate?

The high suicidal rate among the Indian soldiers is credited to loneliness, denial of leave by officers to visit their families on special occasions such as weddings and holidays, stress and improper facilitation. Also while the PM Modi’s government has repeatedly claimed that Soldiers are and will always be their first priority, yet the revelation indicates that the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is interested in their own salaries and allowances and care less about the soldiers.

However, ironically the senior officers care too less about it. In an interview, the senior Indian officer added that one of the biggest reasons of stress is their families back home who remain in contact and make them worry. He neglected the stress the soldiers are going through because of fewer rewards, low maintenance, and fewer leaves. The soldiers made videos claiming that they do not even get new uniforms and food supplied is not up to mark.

The retired officer, Major-General Ashok Mehta, made a shocking statement claiming that numbers are “not alarming” in an army of a million soldiers.

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