Soldiers Suicides, American Vs Indian Statistics
Sometimes I read about the suicides in Jammu and North East, Rajasthan, Cashmere, by Indian Army soldiers posted on border divisions. Whenever the media occurs the lack of will, strength and depression in the ranks of the Indian Army triggers a loud shout and cry. The press takes on the role of a judge and suggests the involvement of Indian Army officials and troops in the frontier. But this demoralizing News Story is far from the facts.
In September, 2007, the Chandigarh-based newspaper The Tribune published statistics showing India’s lowest suicide rate among its soldiers. The so-called national media, which bombarded people with demoralizing storeys, wanted this news storey to have been completely ignored. According to the article published in the Tribune, 131 suicides were registered in the country in 2006, 77 in 2005, 100 in 2004 and 93 in 2003.
The rates of suicides in the Indian army (10 per million) are small compared to established first-world armies with military working in far more comfortable conditions. Considering that in these countries operational stress is much too less than in India, where the military is undoubtedly stressed by the participation of one or another civilian or likely border activity. According to US military official figures, there are 17 suicides per million, 19 per million in France, and 14 per million in England.
A recent Washington Post news article reported that 2007 was one year when suicide rates in the US Army always reached a high of 15 years. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have put extreme pressure on the US army, are responsible for many of these suicides. Americans who are normally accustomed to their country’s comforts rarely do anything to operate in hostile environments and actually can not withstand the tension when they are deployed for long periods in such hostile circumstances. Historically, if soldiers are in war abroad, the rate of suicide can be decreased, but in recent years this pattern has shifted. The military reached an all-time high of 17,5 suicides per 100,000 active duty soldiers in 2006, out of 9.8 per 100,000 active soldiers in 2001 — possibly the lowest recorded number. In the Indian army, equate this to ten of 1,000,000 suicides in which military personnel work on horrible terms.
In hostile situations, our soldiers are working. Imagine that soldiers in Ladakh living in non-heated dressers can curl up in sleeping bags when the temperature falls below 40 degrees Celsius. Heavy self load rifles (SLRs) are worn by soldiers, and less than enough enough clothing is in place. Officers have the privilege of their kerosene heaters, but they can not continue to burn all day and probably all night because they are very dangerous and pollutant. The problems of the army drivers are worse indeed. These hard-working souls have to sleep in their cars and and 2 to 3 hours they wake up and run the engine for a while. If not, the diesel in the engine will freeze and the car will not start the next day. Then they carry on to guard our motherland from the enemies that are all over the country with a smile on their prayer to their faces in their hearts.
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I sincerely believe that suicides should be stopped, no matter what, in general and among soldiers in particular. I would love to lobby for improved support facilities because this is about suicide soldiers. Better accommodation, better clothes and above all better wages and less workplace strain. This can be quite a distance from the present ten per million to one or even zero. This increases the moral of soldiers and works with even more suicide and excitement.