In the wake of rising incidents of face-offs between officers and jawans, defence minister AK Antony on Thursday directed the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to carry out a study and suggest measures to reduce stress.
This comes on the heels of the reported confrontation between officers and jawans of an armoured unit in the Samba sector in J&K last month, following a jawan committing suicide.
In May, a clash between officers and jawans of an artillery unit in the sensitive Ladakh sector resulted in four soldiers ending up in hospital, including the commanding officer (a colonel) and his deputy. A similar incident had taken place in an armoured unit in Punjab last year.
Chairing a meeting attended by the defence secretary, vice chiefs of the three services and DRDO officials, Antony reiterated to the armed forces that they should adopt a liberal leave policy for jawans. He also asked his ministry officials to hold talks with the railways ministry to ensure jawans get confirmed reservations in trains when they go on leave.
An average of 110 jawans committed suicide every year since 2003.
The Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), which comes under the DRDO, had revealed in a report four years back that abusive language and perceived humiliation by superiors were among the precipitating factors for suicide among troops.
Titled Suicide and Fratricide: Dynamics and Management, the DIPR manual placed emphasis on humane treatment of troops and support of superiors.
The DIPR recommendations were the outcome of an extensive study conducted by military psychologists across the counter-terrorism grid in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir covering a sample of more than 2,000 soldiers.
Poor command and control, increased workload and leave issues were also identified as the perfect recipe for disaster.