Serbia should reintroduce conscription (mandatory military service), the Serbian Defence Ministry said on Thursday, as tensions continue to escalate in the Balkans, reported the American news agency Associated Press (AP).
The news agency quoted the ministry’s statement that the proposal for service of up to four months is made “in order to increase the defence capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces, through the rejuvenation and improvement in the training of the active and reserve forces.”
Serbia suspended mandatory military service in 2011 amid the push to professionalize the armed forces, but the country now appears close to bringing back the draft after a long campaign in favour of it, despite concerns that the government may struggle to foot the bill for such massive recruitment, reported the AP.
Although formally neutral, the Serbian army has maintained close ties to Russia from where it has been purchasing most of its arms, including fighter jets and tanks, reported the American news agency.
Defence Minister, Miloš Vučević, said that “the Serbian Army has strong arguments for reintroducing conscription which was never abolished, but only temporarily suspended in 2001”.
„If conscription is reinstated, it will be for a short period of time, up to 4 months at most. The Serbian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence believe that during that time we can train the candidates well enough to be soldiers and to keep them at the same level of training as members of the reserve force,“ Vučević added.
(Alo, N1, 05.01.2024)
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