INDIA: The latest episode of Transcontinental Times’ 360° Live Talk Show featured Indian Army ex-Brigadier-Manoj Kumar, Chief Engineer of Atal Tunnel (world’s longest) and Chairman of The Senaabhyas Education Centre. Kumar dedicated 33 years to serving in the Indian Army. Throughout his professional journey, he received awards from the army commander for effectively managing the national oil crisis in 2008 and the chief of the Indian army staff for the Atal Tunnel project in 2015.
Further intriguingly, Manoj Kumar served in military intelligence during the Kargil war. Along with his experiences, he originates from a family lineage that holds the Limca Book of Records of 13 officers in service with the nation.
From serving in the Army to witnessing the Kargil war, Manoj Kumar’s journey has it all
Manoj Kumar elaborates on the inspiration behind his decision to join the Army, asserting, “In my case, the reason was very simple. I had very good friends who were parents in the armed forces, and looking at them, I found that the discipline, the respect, and the challenges that an individual faces after joining the armed forces, I thought that it was the best place for me. “
“Now, India is on the verge of shining around the world because we are doing pretty well economically,” he said.
He also highlights the key focus areas, saying, “We have to look into infrastructure development. Then, education is one of the sectors that the government has looked into, and they have brought in that national education policy in the year 2020.”
Drawing attention to the challenges tied to national security, Manoj Kumar explains, “As far as national security is associated, we have external concerns. We already have two neighbours with nuclear weapons, China and Pakistan, and recently Sri Lanka has experienced economic hardships. ”
“On the other hand, there is Myanmar, under military rule, and Nepal, which receives significant influence from China and has some boundary issues. These are the external challenges with which India ought to concern itself,” he added.
Kumar illustrates his difficulties during his military career, adding an intriguing phenomenon. “The challenge starts the moment you put on the uniform,” he says. “I was aware from the start that the organization I would join would have its own challenges, but the Army is a little different. Studying and attempting to launch AM 50 bridging equipment instantly in an exercise area was a challenge. “
“I was active in the military, and it was during the Kargil war. I was stationed there, and as a result, I witnessed the battle first-hand. As soon as I assumed command of a unit after that, we were thrust into a war-like situation with Pakistan. After the 1999 attack on the parliament, I was appointed as the Chief Engineer at one of the western air command headquarters; then I worked on the Atal Tunnel,” he remarked.
Manoj Kumar decodes the importance of the Agniveer scheme
Manoj Kumar explains the Agniveer scheme, saying, “The scheme offers the chance to join the Army, Navy, and Air Force to serve the country. Six thousand six hundred people were hired last time in Uttar Pradesh out of a total of 1 to 1.5 lakh. Accordingly, if we consider the prior circumstances, it was comparable to the Angniveer scheme.”
“There have been several changes. For example, if 40 thousand or more candidates apply for the scheme, 25 per cent of them would be retained. It is entirely dependent on how we think whether we are part of the remaining 75 per cent or the 25 per cent. It all depends on how you see things—is the glass half full or half empty? Why do we believe that we will land on 75 per cent of the candidates and, for that reason, we will burn trains or damage public property? Our country is a developing nation, and that’s why we need Agniveer,” he continued.
While discussing the impact of Agniveer’s after four years of service, he briefs, “If we talk about a regular selection process, out of 25 candidates, only one is chosen, and the other 24 are sent home. Will they, therefore, have a negative impact on their minds? No, Your four years of service mould you into a prosperous persona. The leading organizations, including Indian Oil, ONGC, the UP Police, and many more, provide reservations and perceive Agniveer as competent—or, in my opinion, more competent—than they are. Military training makes us more disciplined and gives us a true essence of patriotism.”
Furthermore, Manoj highlights Senaabhyas School, where he claims that all of his students are patriotic. He says that his students move from one room to another while saying Jai Hind and Jai Bharat.
“There was also an emergency commission of officers during the 1962 war. The short service mission for officers is five years, followed by ten years, and will eventually increase. Are all the female officers who joined on a short service tenure during the war demotivated? In my opinion, it is a matter of perception. The government has opened revenue in several organizations for the remaining 75 per cent,” he concluded.
Watch the whole interview here: