Antony orders study to check stress level among Army officers



New Delhi: Against the backdrop of suicides and face-offs between officers and jawans, Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered a study into the stress level encountered by young officers of the Army and has asked DRDO to develop methods to mitigate it.

The Defence Minister has instructed that the study, along with its results on the stress profile of young officers in the Army, should be presented to him next month, DRDO Chief Controller of Life Science W Selvamurthy said.

"The Defence Minister has asked a study to be carried out on young officers, because they are also under stress. Like Other Ranks, they are also in a similar situation of family and work environment," he said.

The study, which is being carried out by Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) based here, will take stock of the stress level and its profile among the young officers who have spent five to six years in their career.

The stress level of young officers is very different from that of the jawans and those who have already spent a considerable time in uniform, Selvamurthy said.

"It is for the serving officers. We are measuring the stress profile of those already recruited. How is their stress profile and the ways to encounter it," he said.

The study will be conducted on basis of the parameters developed by DIPR and will be modified accordingly to conduct follow up studies and reviews.

"It will be a one-time study to prepare a stress profile. If there is a need for a follow up study, then that will be done after certain modifications," Selvamurthy said.

The Army has been deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern areas for more than 50 years now. Young officers are the ones who lead the troops on ground while carrying out these operations there.

In the initial years of their service, the young officers are put under rigorous training regimes for future roles and are also exposed extensively to operational environments in field areas.

Man-management is also one of the responsibilities of the officers. In recent times, there have been several cases where young officers and jawans have been engaged in face-offs.

In Nyoma in Ladakh, officers and jawans had come to blows after alleged misbehaviour of a young officer with a soldier during firing practice going on there allegedly in the presence of their wives.

Another case was reported in Samba, in which soldiers and officers of an Army contingent in Jammu were involved in another face-off after a soldier committed suicide.

In another incident last year, soldiers of an armoured unit in Gurdaspur in Punjab had clashed with their officers after physical training session there.

In the last 10 years, a total of 1,018 army personnel, including some officers, have committed suicide.

PTI