The Myanmar junta has made it compulsory for both young men and women to undergo military service, according to the state media.
According to the details released over the weekend and reported by The Irrawady, a newspaper in Myanmar, all men aged between 18 and 35 and women aged between 18 and 27 will have to serve for up to two years in the army. Those refusing service would be forced to serve jail term.
Myanmar has been in a state of emergency since 2021 after the junta took over power in a coup from the democratically-elected government led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
The army in a statement said that the duty to defend the nation extends beyond just the soldiers but to all citizens. Terming the measure as “essential” because of the current situation in the country.
Three years since taking over, the junta has struggled to crush widespread armed opposition to its rule and recently suffered a string of setbacks and losses to an alliance of armed groups.
In October, a joint alliance of armed ethnic organisations called the Three Brotherhood Alliance captured a large swathe of territory in northeastern Myanmar along the Chinese border.
This pushback has led to other forces in different parts of the country to up the offensive. Over the past few weeks, in Rakhine, hundreds of security forces have been forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.
The junta is facing challenges from the pro-democracy forces along with those from minority armed groups that have been battling for greater autonomy for decades.
Various political organisations have said that there has been an exodus of troops from the army who have joined the pro-democracy armed forces since 2021.
Recently, the Indian government announced the scrapping of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) between India and Myanmar. Along with that the Indian government has announced that India will fence the 1,643-km-long India-Myanmar border on concerns about tribal militants infiltrating India through the porous border.