New Delhi: Compulsory military training to all youths is against democratic ethos of the country and is highly undesirable as some of the trained men could join the ranks of radical forces, Defence Minister AK Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday.
In a written reply to the House, he also said the government is not in favour of making military training compulsory as under the democratic set up of the nation, people are free to chose their profession.
"Military training to all the youths may lead to militarisation of an entire nation. With our socio-political and economic conditions, it is highly undesirable, lest some of the unemployed youths trained in military skills join the ranks of the radical forces," Antony said.
He said the government is not in favour of making military training compulsory as India is a democratic republic and the Constitution does not provide for such a thing.
"In our democracy people are free to chose their profession. Compulsion in respect of military training, it is felt, would go against the democratic ethos," Antony said.
He said compulsory military training to youths is not necessary as the armed forces have a large number of volunteers to draw upon and there is no problem in getting adequate numbers of volunteer recruits.
Training of all the youths will also be a "big drain on limited resource" of a developing country like India, he said. "Training of all the youth would require establishment of a very large number of training centres, all over the country and would involve huge expenditure in their maintenance and upkeep," he said, adding that the likely benefits will not be commensurate with the expenditure involved in such an effort.
The Defence Minister also noted that diversion of the productive youth work force for a compulsory military training would be counter-productive for the nation.