The Army has proposed that cantonments across the country should be converted into “military stations” after separating civilian areas from them, the government said today.
At present, 62 cantonments are operational in 19 states across the country in a total area of 1.57 lakh acres. Approximately 21 lakh people are living in the cantonments, according to official data.
“The Army has suggested excision of civil areas of Cantonments and converting military pockets into military stations,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha,
The Army has been pressing for converting the cantonments into exclusive military stations as part of larger goal of improving operational readiness of the force. The first cantonment was set up by the British and the number grew steadily over the years.
“Cantonments, with a 250-year history, are important institutions that bear testimony to the harmonious co-existence of civilians and defence personnel,” said Bhamre.
Asked whether the government has plans to abolish the cantonments, Bhamre said there is no such proposal.
To a separate question on whether the government is considering to introduce compulsory military training for school children, Bhamre said “no”.
Replying to another question, Bhamre said a joint military exercise between Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force is planned to be held in India later this year.