New Delhi: More Indian soldiers than the enemy are taking the lives of the former. Around 155 army jawans have committed suicide in the last two years (2018-17) while 25 casualties were reported during the same period by the Army during tactical actions.

According to official data, the number of defence personnel committing suicide was the highest in the Army among the three services in the last three years. 

Suicide statistics

The data show that the Army reported 259 cases of suspected suicide in the period 2016-2018. A maximum of 104 cases of suspected suicide were reported in the Army in 2016, 75 in 2017 and 80 in 2018. Besides, four cases of suspected fratricide were reported during the same period. However, the ministry data shows 25 army soldiers killed on the India-Pakistan border (LOC) due to terrorist attacks in the past two years.

On Tuesday, a 30-year-old soldier allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle inside an Army camp at Jammu. Sepoy Sandeep Singh, a resident of Punjab, was on guard duty at a post in a transit camp at Panama Chowk where he shot himself in the head.

The numbers of suicides in the Air Force and the Navy were 56 and 19 respectively during 2016-2018. The Air Force reported one case of fratricide and the Navy zero in the same period.


According to officials, the Army is the largest force where most of the troops are deployed in difficult terrains. Most of the suicides have occurred while the victims were on duty. Most incidents were reported from Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

Some of the reasons for committing suicide are family issues, domestic problems, marital discord, perceived grievances and personal matters.

The link of suicides with stress and trauma related to their active duty in operations cannot be discounted.

Government intervenes

The ministry claims that they have taken various steps to create a healthy and favourable environment for officers and other ranks. These include the provision of better clothing, food, married accommodation, travel facilities, schooling, recreation and periodic welfare meeting.

Introduction of yoga and meditation as a tool for stress management, training and deployment of psychological counsellors, and institutionalisation of projects ‘MILAP’ and ‘SAHYOG’ by Army in Northern and Eastern Command to reduce stress among troops are the other initiatives.

A ‘Mansik Sahayata Helpline’ has been established by Army and Air Force to take professional counselling.