A total of 310 Indian army personnel has committed suicide since 2014, according to a new government report released on Tuesday.
According to the report, that was presented at the upper house of the Indian parliament, nine officers and 19 junior commissioned officers were among those who committed suicide between 2014 and 2017, so far. The report also noted 11 cases of fratricide during the period.
A March report by an Indian newspaper, Times of India, stated the reasons for the high suicide rate among military personnel is enormous stress from prolonged deployment in remote areas. There has been increased activity by the armed groups in the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is dealing with heightened counterinsurgency operations.
Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence, said lack of adequate salaries, basic services, denial of leaves and ineffectual officer leadership are also responsible for the suicides.
Bhamre said there was an urgent need to provide the troops with better quality of clothing and food and grant them travel and recreation facilities. A grievance repair mechanism also needs to be established to help improve their living conditions.
Bhamre pointed out the civil and police district administrations in the country have been neglecting the issue and don't address the grievances of soldiers and their families. "One of the biggest worries for jawans is the hardships their families face back home. With mobile phones, our jawans keep on getting constant updates from their families, which adds to their mental stress and strain," an officer told the Times of India.
In March, Bhamre told the Times of India, the government was taking measures to improve the situation.
"These include improvement in living and working conditions through provision of better infrastructure and facilities; additional family accommodation; liberalized leave policy; establishing grievance redressal mechanism; conduct of yoga and meditation as part of the unit routine etc," he said.
"A large number of officers have been trained as counselors to provide counseling to defense personnel and their families. Civilian psychological counselors have also been employed to provide mental health services. Psychologists also visit units and formations from time to time to carry out counseling, individually and at times in groups," Bhamre added.