New Delhi, March 5: While the neighbours dig heels deep on the border areas, India's three defence services have reported shortage of officers and other ranks with the army facing crunch of 10,100 officers.
The serious shortage was admitted by the government on Monday and Defence Minister A K Antony told Lok Sabha that army faced shortage of 26,433 PBORs (personnel below officer rank) as on Oct 1, 2012.
He said the navy faced shortage of 2,054 officers and 14,512 sailors as on Dec 31, 2012, while the air Force faced a shortage of 667 officers as on Feb 1, 2013 and 7,000 airmen as on Dec 1, 2012.
Antony said the government has taken a number of measures to encourage the youth to join the armed forces, including holding recruitment rallies and media campaigns.
This shortage of soldiers is alarming due to developments on the Pakistan and China borders.
The Indian government informed on Monday that it is aware of infrastructure development by China and Pakistan along the borders and reviews the threat perception regularly.
Antony told Lok Sabha that the government has identified strategically important border roads and railway lines for development for improving the operational capabilities of the forces in phased manner.
He said the government was aware of Chinas military modernisation and infrastructure development along the India-China border.
"Development of infrastructure and operational capabilities to achieve desired defence preparedness to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India are an ongoing activity," he said.
He said there were sectors where both countries have differing perceptions of the border."
"Incidents of transgressions are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanisms of hot lines, flag meetings, border personnel meetings and normal diplomatic channels," Antony said.
He added that "effective border management" was carried out through surveillance and regular patrolling.