Agnipath, private military companies, saffron militant organisations etc.
Going by how strongly the BJP Government is defending the ill-advised Agnipath recruitment scheme to the armed forces, and how quickly they are going ahead with the recruitment, we can expect one of their corporate masters to announce the launch of a private military force in the next four or five years, by which time the first batch of "agniveers" will become jobless. The obvious reason for slowing down regular recruitments and concentrating fully on this four year programme is ofcourse the savings on pensions and other benefits. Having a large bunch of military trained jobless youth coming out every year year is also a mouthwatering prospect for the Sangh Parivar’s many militant front organisations.
But, when it comes to this Government, every major policy decision can be linked to the larger needs of the corporations. Although the BJP makes a lot of noise on nationalism, it did not have any problems in taking the first steps towards privatisation of the Indian Ordnance Factories, which produce ammunitions and uniforms for our armed forces. It has already outsourced 250 items to the private sector after declaring them as "non-core". Steps for privatisation have also begun in the Indian space sector. So, why would they shy away from promoting private military companies too?
Private military companies have grown across the globe in the past two decades, and it is only a matter of time before our own corporate giants launch their own companies. In the US, there is the infamous private military firm Blackwater, which is known for indiscriminate killings of civilians, including women and children, in various countries where the US has intervened. US President Trump had, in a controversial decision, pardoned four such private mercenaries accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. In Britain, there are firms like Aegis Defence Services, while Putin has his Wagner group and Turkish President Erdogan has Sadat International Defense Consultancy. This Turkish one is an interesting case. It is run by Adnan Tanriverdi, who was apparently dismissed from the Turkish military over his extremist Islamist views. Private military companies everywhere have been associated with human rights violations and atrocities, mainly because of the impunity of these profit-minded mercenaries who are not responsible to anyone. Not that the military which can be held responsible does not behave with such impunity.
Now, coming back to India, some of our usual suspects with their hand in every pie, can easily get the necessary permissions for this. Look at the speed with which they have taken over our airports and PSUs built painfully over several decades. As of now, only 25% of the "agniveers" will be absorbed into the armed forces. The rest of them are there for the taking for anyone who is ready to hire them. Even if the various saffron organisations absorb some of them, there will be quite a lot of trained youngsters for private military firms, if they indeed start operations. BJP leader Kailash Vijayavargiya's comment that "agniveers" will be given priority as security guards in BJP offices is not a slip of the tongue. This is the kind of future they have envisioned for these youths. The plan clearly is to militarise the youth and politicise the army.
PS- It is no surprise that the "No.1 Malayalam news channel" has not taken up the Agnipath protests for its news hour discussions. Who owns them? :D