The Indian Army has been losing more personnel every year in suicides and untoward incidents than in any enemy action and more than half of its soldiers seem to be under severe stress at present, a study by think tank United Service Institution of India (USI) has revealed.
"Prolonged exposure of Indian Army personnel to CI (counter- insurgency)/CT (counter-terrorism) environment has been one of the contributory factors for increased stress levels," research undertaken by Col A K Mor, Senior Research Fellow at the USI during 2019-20 states.
There has been a massive spike in stress levels amongst Indian Army personnel during the last two decades due to operational and non-operational stressors, the research mentions.
"The Indian armed forces have been losing over 100 soldiers every year due to suicides and fratricides leading to the "grim reality" of one soldier dying every third day," the study said, adding, "This loss is substantially greater than the operational casualties suffered by the Armed forces. In addition, a number of soldiers and leaders have been affected by hypertension, heart diseases, psychosis, neurosis and other related ailments."
"Furthermore, presently more than half of Indian Army personnel seem to be under severe stress," the study said.
"The Indian Army has been losing more personnel every year due to suicides, fratricides and untoward incidents than in response to any enemy and/or terrorist activities," it mentioned.
The study also said that various stress management measures introduced by the Indian Army and the Defence ministry in the last 15 years have been unsuccessful in achieving the desired results, the study added.
"Units and sub-units under stress are likely to witness an increased number of incidents of indiscipline, unsatisfactory state of training, inadequate maintenance of equipment and low morale that adversely affects their combat preparedness and operational performance," it noted.
According to the study, the primary organisational causes of stress amongst Army officers constitute inadequacies in leadership quality, overburdened commitments, inadequate resources, frequent dislocations, lack of fairness and transparency in postings and promotions, inadequate accommodation and non-grant of leave.
"The main organisational stressors according to junior commissioned officers (JCOs)/other ranks (ORs) include delay and denial of leave, excessive engagements, domestic problems, humiliation by seniors, lack of dignity, unreasonable restrictions on the use of mobiles, lack of recreational facilities and conflict with seniors as well as subordinates," it said.