A group of military brass and officers from across the Indo-Pacific is running a fitness program for troops on leave to help them keep fit.
India’s Army said it would spend the money on exercise equipment and uniforms and was offering to help local communities run their own fitness centres.
“A lot of people in India have come to know that the military is going to be working on fitness programs for soldiers who have not returned to duty,” Lieutenant Colonel Pradip Sharma, a military officer and trainer, told The Hindu.
“We are providing these facilities to those who have returned to the country.”
The exercise equipment is designed to encourage physical fitness.
“The military is looking at a lot of different aspects, including the amount of exercise people can get, the amount that can be done,” Sharma said.
“It is looking into different things like health, exercise, food, and the environment.”
The exercise program is part of the army’s new ‘fitness drive’ that aims to encourage soldiers to stay physically active and maintain their physical condition, a key part of its military strategy.
The Army is currently operating in the eastern part of West Bengal, near the Indian border.
India’s army chief, Gen Subramanian Swamy, has called for an overhaul of the military’s structure to address the health and fitness challenges of soldiers, with the aim of making the army more fit and less dependent on its armed forces.
“We are doing a lot to improve the fitness levels of our soldiers, and we are doing it on a large scale.
The idea is to make the army as fit as possible,” Swamy said.
According to Swamy’s office, about 4.2 million people are currently active in the armed forces, and nearly 40 per cent of them are in the ranks of the National Security Guard (NSG).
The NSG, a paramilitary force of the Indian armed forces that has long been criticised for its role in atrocities such as the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, is expected to grow by 300,000 people by 2019, according to official estimates.
Swamy said the army would soon launch an online course to help soldiers become physically fit, but declined to say when that would happen.