The Indian Army, the Navy and Air Force are facing a shortage of more than 9,000 officers, the government said on Wednesday.

The Indian Army alone is short of 7,298 officers, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

He said the Army has an authorised strength of 49,933 officers but as on January 1, 2018 it had only 42,635.

The Indian Army is considered the second largest army in the world with 1.4 million officers and others, according to the World Atlas 2018 report.

The Indian Navy has a sanctioned strength of 11,352 officers but has only 9,746 – a shortage of 1,606, according to data as on July 1, 2018.

Similarly, the Air Force’s authorised strength of officers is 12,584 but it has only 12,392 and is short of 192.

The minister said recruitment in the Armed Forces was a continuous process and the government was taking a number of measures to reduce the shortages.

“These include sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions and publicity campaign to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career.”

The government, he said, had as well taken various steps to make Armed Forces’ jobs attractive including improvement in promotion prospects.

“To attract youth including the rural youth to join the Armed Forces various steps are taken such as giving wide publicity to recruitment in the Armed Forces through advertisement in print and audio-visual media.

“Recruitment of Personnel Below Officers Ranks (PBORs) in the Army is carried out through open rally system being conducted regularly throughout the country. Efforts are made to cover the entire country including remote and tribal areas.”

In the Navy, the minister said, regular recruitment drives are also undertaken for recruitment of sailors.

Recruitment of Airmen in the Air Force is done on all India basis through scheduled selection tests as recruitment rallies are also conducted in different parts of the country including tribal areas.