New Delhi: In a worrying trend that puts a question mark on the preparedness of the Indian Army, over 10,000 soldiers opted for pre-mature retirement from the force last year.
The disclosure was made by Defence Minister AK Antony in Parliament on Monday.
According to the minister, 10,315 soldiers took pre-mature retirement in 2011, while in 2010 and 2009 the figure stood at 7,249 and 7,499, respectively.
Antony said better career opportunities could be one of the reasons behind jawans opting for pre-mature retirement at a productive age of around 35 years.
Regarding the growing cases of friction between soldiers and senior Army officers, Antony said in the last two years, there have three such incidents where officers and jawans have been involved in "scuffles" at different places including the 226 Field Regiment at Nyoma in Ladakh and 45th Cavalry at Gurdaspur in Punjab.
The Defence Minister said jawans are not subjected to "undue harassment" by officers and they perform their responsibilities in a "congenial atmosphere".
Antony said a number of steps including liberalised leave policy, provision of recreational facilities and deployment of psychological counsellors to keep up the morale of jawans.