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To address the “declining physical standards among officers” in the Indian Army and the “rise of lifestyle diseases,” a new policy has been implemented. This policy not only imposes punitive action for overweight personnel with “no improvement within 30 days” but also introduces additional tests to the existing ones, requiring the maintenance of an Army Physical Fitness Assessment card (APAC) for each individual.

The recent change designates a Brigadier rank officer as the presiding officer, replacing the previous structure where a Commanding officer handled quarterly tests, and each personnel maintained an APAC card.

According to sources, a letter sent to all commands outlined that this new policy aims for uniformity in the testing process, addressing issues like officers being physically unfit or obese during courses, foreign postings, and the rise of lifestyle diseases.

Present norms involve quarterly BPET and PPT tests, covering various physical activities. In the Battle Physical Efficiency Test, individuals must complete a 5 km run, a 60-metre sprint, climbing using a horizontal rope, climbing using a vertical rope, and crossing over a 9 feet ditch within a specified time based on age. Meanwhile, the Physical Proficiency Test includes a set of exercises such as a 2.4 km run, 5 m shuttle, push-ups, chin-ups, sit-ups, and a 100-metre sprint. The swimming test is conducted only where facilities are available.

Physical standards falling, Army introduces new fitness protocol

The results are currently included in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) on an annual basis, maintained by the Commanding Officer (CO).

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Under the new guidelines, officers up to the rank of Brigadier will preside over the Board of Officers, conducting quarterly assessments led by a minimum rank of a Brigadier, with two Colonels and a Medical Officer (MO).

In addition to the existing quarterly BPET and PPT, a 10 km speed march and 32 km route march every six months have been added, along with an annual 50-meter swimming proficiency test.

All personnel will maintain an Army Physical Fitness Assessment Card, and test results must be submitted within 24 hours to track progress.

For those failing to meet physical standards and falling into the “overweight” category, a written counseling will be given, followed by a 30-day improvement period, including curtailment of leave and TD courses, as per the new guidelines.

The guidelines emphasize potential actions under Army Regulation (AR) 15 and Army Act (AA) 22 for those failing the assessments. Overweight officers will receive written directions to reduce weight within 30 days, and APACs will be linked to the officers’ ACR.

A senior officer in the Army affirmed the development, stating that the “new guidelines were required due to declining fitness standards and are an appreciable move.”

Army PRO in Delhi, Col Sudhir Chamoli, when contacted, declined to comment or provide further details on the new fitness guidelines for the army.

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