Happy New Year from the co-update team. We hope that 2008 will bring more good news for the right to conscientious objection, and that it will be more peaceful than 2007.
As War Resisters' International's annual seminar and Council meeting are planned to take place in India in December 2008, we will this year make a special effort to look at the recruitment practice of the Armed Forces of India (see article on the right). While India does not have conscription, it also does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.
India boasts the third largest armed forces in the world, with 1,3 million active troops in the Indian Army alone. While recruitment is voluntary, the economical situation in the country - with more than a quarter of the population officially living under the poverty line - guarantees a high number of potential recruits.
According to information provided by the Indian Army, an infantry private (sepoy) receives a starting salary of between Rs. 3050 and Rs.