Nicely designed tattoos might elicit admiration from friends and peers, and even a kiss from your girl, but thanks to the very same tattoo, you can kiss goodbye to becoming a soldier in Indian Army.
Reason? From this year, candidates who have tattoos on any part of their body other than on the lower part of their arms (between wrist and elbow) won't be recruited by Indian Army. And even the type of tattoo allowed is limited - it can either be a name or a religious symbol.
Colonel GS Daveta, who is in-charge of the Army Recruitment Office in Mhow, said order to this effect have been issued by the Army Headquarters this year.
Apparently, it is the fear of HIV among those who have tattoos that has made the top brass take this decision. Colonel Daveta said though he personally does not have all the details but many such cases have surfaced in North-east India where tattooing is a fad. In most cases, the needle used for tattooing spreads the infection.
Asked why the Army is not making HIV testing mandatory, the Colonel said HIV tests are expensive and the Army recruitment office does not have the expertise to carry out such tests.