India overhauls recruitment to build younger military

India has revamped its military recruitment policy to have a younger force that can be ready to meet any challenges in the future.

The move comes with India sharing a heavily militarized border with Pakistan, and engaged in a stand-off with China to the north.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh announced the changes on Tuesday. He said most recruits would only be able to stay a maximum of four years. Under the old system, many tended to stay much longer.

Singh said 46,000 men and women between the ages of 17 and a half and 21 would be recruited each year.
Of these, only 25 percent will be retained after four years.
The defense ministry says this means the average age of military personnel would drop by about four to five years.

Army chief Gen. Manoj Pande said, "One of the most significant initiatives aims to make the army a future ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the full spectrum of conflict."

India has one of the largest armed forces in the world, with about 1.4 million members.

Experts say the new system will also bring down the military's expenses for pensions and salaries, which form a big part of its budget.