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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

From Today's Papers - 16 Aug 2011




Gallantry award for Dantewada braveheart

New Delhi, August 14 CRPF DIG Nalin Prabhat, who was the commander of the force during the deadly Dantewada Naxal ambush last year, and Madhya Pradesh ATS constable Sitaram Yadav, who was killed by SIMI operatives in 2009, are among 930 police personnel decorated with gallantry and other service medals on the eve of Independence Day.  The maximum number of gallantry medals - 26 - have been earned by the personnel and officers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) which has deployed almost 60,000 troops for anti-Naxal operations in the country. The CRPF is closely followed by the Manipur Police with 24 gallantry medals.  The government today announced the President's Police Medal for gallantry to seven personnel, Police Medal for gallantry to 95 personnel, President's Police Medal for distinguished service to 93 personnel and Police Medal for meritorious service to 735 personnel.  CRPF Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Prabhat was heading the operations of the force when 75 CRPF men and a state police personnel were killed in one of the deadliest Maoist attacks on police forces, in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on April 6 last year.  The role of Prabhat, an IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre (1992), and other senior officers of the force was probed by various inquiry commissions.  Constable Yadav (32) of the MP Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), who has been posthumously honoured, was killed in Khandwa district of the state in November 2009 by Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operatives.  Yadav was instrumental in cracking several modules of SIMI and was involved in other such operations. — PTI








3 Army docs get Sena Medals for thwarting terror attack in Kabul

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 14 Three doctors of the Army have been conferred with the Sena Medal for their acts of bravery in thwarting a terrorist attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul last year. Their names figure on the list of around 200 gallantry awards announced by the President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil on the eve of Independence Day today.  The award winners include members of the armed forces, the central paramilitary forces and state police forces.  Lieut-Col Sanjiv Kumar Kakkar, Major Sumit Arora and Major Sibashish Metia, all doctors at the hospitals being run for civilians in Afghanistan, have been awarded for their bravery shown during an attack on the residential complex “Hamid guest house” on February 26 last year.  Paediatrician Col Kakkar was unarmed as he rushed into a hail of bullets to take on the terrorists and herded his colleagues to safety. He suffered serious burns and splinter injuries in the right leg.  Major Sumit Arora, a medical specialist on deputation to the Indian Medical Mission Kabul, was faced with enemy action when a terrorist lobbed a grenade at his room, thus setting it on fire. Major Arora, unarmed and trapped inside the room, jumped through a window. He sustained severe burns and splinter injuries all over his body, but continued to look after his colleagues and provided them with emergency medical care till medical help arrived. In the meantime, late Major L Jyotin Singh has neutralised the terrorists.  Major Sibashish Metia, posted as a surgeon at Kabul, was trapped in a room that was on fire along with four team members, including two English teachers. He opened the burning doors with bare hands, suffering severe burn injuries to both hands, face, chest and lung injury. He was able to save the lives of three members.  The President has approved 137 Gallantry Awards for the armed forces. These include 14 Shaurya Chakras, three of them posthumously and one of them is to CRPF constable Ashish Tewari. Lieut Commander Firdaus Mogul of the Indian Navy has been awarded for saving the lives of six sailors at high seas. He lost his life in the process.  Others awards are: Three Bar to Sena Medals for Gallantry, 114 Sena Medals for Gallantry, three Nao Sena Medals for gallantry and three Vayu Sena Medals for Gallantry.  Apart from this, 930 personnel have been awarded police medals. The President’s Police Medals for Gallantry have been awarded to seven personnel, Police Medals for Gallantry to 95 personnel, President’s Police Medals for Distinguished Service to 93 personnel and Police Medals for Meritorious Service to 735 personnel.  Out of the seven PPMG awardees three are from the BSF - Constable Vishnu Puri, Constable Anup Das and Constable Bajrangi (both posthumous). One policeman each from West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam and J&K has been awarded the PPMG. The awardee from J&K is Sub inspector Shiv Krishan.








Army to cut litigation cases involving veterans

Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, August 14 In a proactive move to reduce litigation, the Army Headquarters (AHQ) has asked all army commands to ensure that contested litigation concerning retired personnel are withdrawn where the issue involved is well settled by previous judgements.  The Adjutant General’s (AG) branch at AHQ has issued directives to officers in charge of litigation at the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and the High Courts that cases involving settled legal position in the favour of veterans should not be contested in courts since it results in unnecessary financial strain on former defence personnel as well as the Union of India.  Sources said this is for the first time that such orders have been issued. The AG’s branch has also issued specific direction to its officers that cases where medical board recommendations in favour of disabled personnel have been wrongly overruled by administrative authorities should not be contested and should be withdrawn.  The AG’s branch has also directed that cases should also not be contested where individuals with non-service related disabilities are medially boarded out with a little less than 10 years of service which is the minimum qualifying service required for invalid pension in cases of disabilities which are neither attributable to nor aggravated by service conditions.  The AG’s branch has further sensitised military authorities that individuals with non-service related disabilities should not be boarded out if they are nearing the minimum service limit of 10 years for earning an invalid pension. There is no minimum service requirement however to earn disability pension in cases with attributable or aggravated disabilities.  A large number of veterans have welcomed the AG’s directives. In recent times objections were raised by many veterans’ organisations on the tendency of the Defence Ministry of appealing against all pensionary decisions rendered by Courts in favour of defence veterans. “The directions issued by the AG is salutary move that is in line with the National Litigation Policy and which would reduce the burden on poor litigants as well as the courts, leaving time for more complex matters to be litigated,” Maj Navdeep Singh, President of the AFT Bar Association said.  The courts are flooded with pension related litigation, with disability pension claims forming the bulk. While the military authorities per se try to be helpful to disabled personnel, most of the litigation is directed towards non-adherence of rules by medical boards while determining attributability or aggravation of disabilities and towards the CDA authorities whom veterans say are insensitive to the problems of former soldiers.









Modernisation of armed forces top priority: Antony

Tribune News Service  AK Antony New Delhi, August 14 Defence Minister AK Antony today asked the armed forces to “uphold the trust of the nation”. A few cases of corruption in the armed forces have come to light recently and this has created “a somewhat negative impact on the image in the public eye”, he said while reminding them that it was the responsibility of each one of them to perform their tasks “with complete devotion, fairness, honesty and truthfulness”.  In his customary broadcast over All-India Radio on the eve of the 65th Independence Day, Antony said modernisation of our armed forces was “top priority for the government”.  The Defence Minister assured that the government wants all-round development of defence forces and the jawans. “An improvement in the quantity and the quality of rations, clothing and equipment has been brought about. Pointing out that he has realised the hardships and challenges that the troops face during his visits to the forward post in J&K, Northeast, Rajasthan and Gujarat, Antony said the DRDO has designed insulated shelters that would provide medical aid and help save lives.”  Along with this, we have issued instructions to accelerate work on the Married Accommodation Project”, Antony told the forces. The radio broadcast is transmitted throughout the country.  Lauding the role of ex-servicemen and underlining their welfare was a priority for the government, the Defence Minister said their pension related problems are being addressed and amenities are being expanded. Antony said: “I have appealed to all the states to provide more employment opportunities to ex-servicemen at all levels”.  Commending the armed forces for their exemplary performance in the Commonwealth Games and lauding the three women of the Indian Air Force who scaled Mount Everest recently, Antony said: “We will try our best to open up more and more avenues for women in armed forces to provide them more opportunities”.










Hi-tech radars to check bird hits

New Delhi, August 14 To tackle the menace of birds flying around its bases and putting the fighter aircraft in danger, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is now looking out for procuring sophisticated radars to monitor bird activity as an integral part of its flight safety procedure.  Besides monitoring their movement, the avian radars will help in studying the flying pattern of birds at different hours of the day.  “Avian radars help in locating, tracking and monitoring movements of birds. These radars are used as an integral part of flight safety procedure,” an IAF official said here today.  The IAF has an ornithology cell under the Directorate of Aerospace Safety to reduce bird hit cases and the cell has completed bird survey at 28 flying bases.  “While monitoring bird activity, we have to look at various aspects.  The pattern of bird movement and their flight schedule varies as per the terrain. Birds are more active at a low altitude during sunrise and sunset when they go out in search of food and come back to their nests respectively,” the official said.  Apart from studying their flying habits, the avian radars will help in collecting data on other aspects such the height, numbers and density of birds in a particular area.  These radars would help the IAF's bird watching teams in specifying their areas of activity and density. It will help in ensuring there is no bird movement in the flight path of an aircraft during its take off and landing.  The data collected with the help of these radars would be further analysed at the ornithology cell. — PTI









BSF refurbishing Mi-17 helicopters for VIP use

Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, August 14 The Border Security Force, the only Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) under the home ministry to have an air wing, is refurbishing its Mi-17 helicopters for VIP use. The upgradation of the helicopters into VIP configuration includes retrofitting a few executive “Maharaja class” seats with folding dining table as are used by airlines, additional less luxurious airline type seats both with and without tables, wall to wall carpeting and internal trimmings.  The BSF has six recently procured Russian Mi-17V helicopters in its inventory.  Sources in the BSF said that through three Mi-17V choppers will be refurbished for VIP use initially, the cabins all six helicopters would be suitably modified to accommodate VIP seats and other fitments. “We would like that the internal fitments of the choppers are interchangeable so that any of the six choppers can be deployed for VIP duties,” an officer said.  Besides the Mi-17s, the BSF has eight HAL-made Dhruv helicopters and some fixed wing aircraft, including a Brazilian Embraer-135, two US Beechcraft King Air and a couple of aging HS-748 Avros. Besides VIP transport, some of its helicopters are also deployed in anti-naxal operations. Helicopters are used for troop deployment, communication and casualty evacuation.  The BSF air wing has, in the past, faced some problems with shortage of pilots and aircrew. Most of the pilots with the BSF were on deputation from the Air Force or those who retired from the armed forces. Later, the BSF also started recruiting its own pilots.  The home ministry is also planning to augment the strength of the air wing in light of the BSF’s operational requirements and border guarding commitments as well as increased internal security deployments. According to reports, the government is planning to acquire at least 20 more helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft over the next five years. This would also reduce BSF’s dependence on the air force.









Military losing its shine Time to recast Short Service Commission

by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd )  In a developing economy, well on the road to prosperity, preference for government jobs tends to decline. This has not happened in India so far due to a number of reasons. One, government jobs offer unmatched security of employment. Two, seniority overrides merit. Three, mediocrity prospers, promotions are plentiful and finally, there is much rent to be collected with minimum risk. Government employees have still not shed the colonial era hang-ups of being masters and not public servants: ego and false notions of status persist.  Within the ambit of government jobs, the military has lost much of its shine because hardly any of the pluses of government jobs apply to this service. Economically well-placed democracies offer many incentives and perks to make military service attractive and somewhat competitive with other job avenues so as to draw on the right material. As opposed to this, in India, sustained attempts have been made to make this service more and more unattractive, by disadvantaging it in every possible way. Even after spending huge funds on T V advertisements and lowering of intake standards (in recently held promotion tests, 80 per cent of the officers failed in Part B and D examinations) the military has not been able to fill its huge deficiencies in the officer cadre (approximately 24 per cent)  As the country’s economy further improves, less suitable candidates will come forward to join the military but, instead, will be attracted to lucrative jobs from a wide range of other options, where the intelligent and the more ambitious can realise their full potential. This relegation of the military as a profession, which bears on the quality of intake into the officer cadre, will eventually impact our ability to face future security challenges: internal and external. Merely modernising and upgrading equipment and weapon systems, building defence infrastructure, etc, will be of little avail if those who have to strategise and exploit their potential to the optimum and lead troops into a battle do not measure up to future demands of national security.  Much before World War II the American government wanted to reduce its defence expenditure by cutting down the strength of the officer cadre by 12000. Speaking before the Senate, General Douglas MacArthur, the greatest general in American history, said, “If you want to cut everything out of the National Defence Act, the least element should be the Officer Corps. If you have to discharge every soldier, if you have to do away with everything else, I would still professionally advise you to keep those 12000 officers. They are the main spring of the whole mechanism; each one of them would be worth a thousand men at the beginning of a war.” Incidentally, the Indian Army is short of 12000 or so officers.  Persistently downgrading of the military by the government and taking pot shots at it by all and sundry is considered fair game. If the Army Chief talks of good governance, some MPs want him sacked. If the Service Chiefs stands up for their officers and troops against the vagaries of the Pay Commission and Committee of Secretaries, an editor of a national newspaper wants them sacked. Yes, sacked and no less! For these liberals, the civilian control of the military only means, “not to reason why, ---!”  When asked whether the Indian Army can do a “Jeronimo” (elimination of Osama bin Laden), the Army Chief says “yes” (without naming the target/country ) and the media and a whole lot of others are at his throat. Raising the issue of his date of birth in public, leaking to the media that government has overruled his visit to attend the biennial conference of the Pacific Armies Chiefs does deliver grievous blows to the institution of the Chief. This periodic targeting the Chief greatly irks the serving and veterans. When the Home Secretary makes a statement, almost sabotaging the Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan, there is not a whisper in the media or the government! We do have some strange notions of an Army Chief’s functioning in Indian democracy.  Due to periodic transfers in the armed forces, children’s education suffers immensely. To overcome this drawback, the military started to run its own schools and a number of professional colleges. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that admission into the military's professional colleges should be opened to civilian children too. Why then should the military run such colleges? It is surely not the military’s job to run educational institutions for others.  The Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has objected to military having golf courses in the cantonments on its own land (class A land) and that golf is not a recognised game! Surely, the military can use its vacant land in the manner it feels best and also the games its officers can and need to play. It is the military authorities’ concern and responsibility to ensure that their officers remain physically fit and mentally alert. There is a golf course in the President’s Estate in New Delhi. One wonders if, according to the CAG, golf is an authorised game for the President!  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) wants to gain control over units’ and formations’ private funds. The government created a department in the MoD for the welfare of ex-servicemen with no one from the defence services on its staff. The attitude of the staff in this department towards veterans is completely negative, bordering on hostility. At another level, their Supreme Commander is in total denial of the painful experience of veterans returning their medals.  These are few cases out of the numerous where the military faces pinpricking and neglect. This constant and needless needling and driving the military against the wall will greatly demotivate the serving and further dissuade those who may want to joint the military’s officer cadre. The most negative image of the military as a career is reflected in the condition and the manner of treatment of veterans by the government. Unless this picture is drastically recast, all efforts at TV advertisements at great expense will be a sheer waste of money. The authorities continue to remain divorced from the reality.  Such treatment, the inherent drawbacks and travails of military life bear heavily in selecting the military as a career in India. Add to this the risk to life and limbs. With very few promotions which come rather late in service and no provision for “non-functional pay”, which is available to all class 1 central services, few suitable candidates want to opt for the military.  However, here we are concerned with making the best of a bad situation and work out means and methods to redraw the contours of the officer cadre so as to attract whatever could be termed as suitable material with the lowest possible acceptable standard. There is the need to recast the officer cadre with much larger Short Service Commission (SSC) officers. This will not only somewhat improve the career prospects of the regular cadre officers, but will also, in the long run, be economical to the state. The Army’s cutting edge will remain young and vibrant. The right material can only be drawn if this cadre is made really attractive.  It is through offering incentives that the US is able to keep the deficiency in its officer cadre in the military down to around 3 per cent and draw on the right material. These young officers, with their military background and training, when absorbed into various fields such as civil services/CPOs/ business/ industry, etc, will be able to bring about a change for the better in their new pastures. n  The writer is a former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff.







Government committed to welfare of armed forces: Antony

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Sunday said the government was committed to the welfare of the armed forces and had taken steps to improve the quality of their rations, clothing and equipment.  Extending his heartiest greetings and best wishes to members of the Indian armed forces – uniformed and civilian – on the eve of the country’s 65th Independence day, the defence minister in a statement said: ‘On this occasion, I pay my tributes to all the martyrs who gave the supreme sacrifice for the nation.’  Antony said he has visited the frontiers in the northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, and seen the preparation in the desert and other areas.  ‘On these visits, I have come to know about the challenges that troops have to face. Keeping such challenges in mind, the government has taken several steps to improve the facilities. An improvement in the quantity and the quality of rations, clothing and equipment has been brought about,’ he said.  ‘The government is committed to the all-round welfare of our jawans (troops) and will continue to provide them the best facilities and living conditions, especially for those living in inhospitable and difficult conditions,’ said Antony.  ‘We have taken several steps for the welfare of our ex-servicemen. 199 new polyclinics and 15 new regional health centres have been started to provide better health care facilities to ex-servicemen. Besides, a pilot online automation scheme has been started to address pension related problems.’  Speaking on ex-servicemen, Antony said he had asked states to provide more employment opportunities to ex-servicemen at all levels.  The defence minister expressed confidence that the armed forces would ‘leave nothing to chance in defending our land, air and sea borders. Your vigil on the borders and commitment to the nation will enhance the prestige of the Forces and do the nation proud’.









Latest MiG fighters delivered to India

Moscow, August 13 (TruthDive): MiG fighter jets crashing with rapidity in India, Russia’s MiG aircraft maker said it has delivered the first four MiG-29 Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets to India. Rest will be delivered by the year end.  Russia and India signed a contract on January 20, 2004, stipulating the supply of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs to India as part of a $1.5 billion deal to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian navy.  The contract for the jets also stipulates the procurement of hardware for pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.  India and Russia are also reportedly close to reaching an agreement to break the deadlock on additional financing for the retrofit of the Admiral Gorshkov, which caused “a distinct chill in expansive Indo-Russian defense ties.”The Indian Navy has named its MiG-29K squadron the “Black Panthers.” The fighters will be based at an airfield in the state of Goa on India’s west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the Navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya.  MiG, one of the most popular Soviet aircraft brands, was known all over the world and came to symbolize just about any Soviet warplane, except long-range bombers, in the West during the Cold War. The MiG Design Bureau pioneered the development of post-war turbojet fighters in the Soviet Union. Its first jet fighter, the I-300 later designated the MiG-9 Fargo, performed its maiden flight on April 24, 1946 and became the first jet fighter to enter service with the Soviet air force.  The MiG-15 soon became the main Soviet air-superiority fighter and also entered service with other socialist countries. The fighter’s finest hour came during the 1950-1953 Korean War. In October 1950, the Soviet 64th Fighter Corps was assigned to defend logistics support and border facilities in North Korea. Chinese and North Korean air forces also received new fighters.







On the India-Pakistan border, a cold peace

Reuters) - It has been nearly eight years since India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire over Kashmir - long enough for residents to start building brick houses and plant paddy fields up to the edge of one of the world's most heavily militarized borders.  But for soldiers guarding the disputed frontier, it is a fragile peace that can be broken at any time.  "I wouldn't call our relationship on the border cordial. We characterize it as professional," said an officer of India's Border Security Force (BSF), speaking on condition he not be identified because of the sensitivity of his assignment on the frontline.  Now, as India and Pakistan embark on a tentative peace process and try to decide how to open their borders to trade and travel, it will be the situation on the ground in places such as Suratgarh that determine the pace of the detente.  In June, trouble erupted in the area when the BSF lost a soldier and blamed Pakistani sniper fire. The Pakistani Rangers, who are within shouting distance, denied any involvement and suggested it could be an internal issue.  The Indians retaliated with small arms fire, but the exchange lasted barely an hour. That was in contrast to the artillery duels the foes engaged in along the Line of Control in Kashmir - sometimes every day during particularly bad spells of their relationship - before the ceasefire in November 2003.  Ever since, a cold peace has held on the zig-zag border that begins in Suratgarh, in the dry plains of the Jammu region, and winds its way to the rugged heights of Kashmir.  "We are not on hair-trigger alert, but we cannot lower our guard either. Not even for a moment," said the officer, sitting in a tent barely 100 meters from the border crossing, marked by two high gates with the flags of the two countries fluttering.  Both gates -- India's in a dark blue and Pakistan painted in deep green -- are firmly shut, used only when commanders need to walk across for flag meetings, or to allow members of the United Nations Military Observer Group, set up after the first war over Kashmir in 1947-48, to travel between the two countries.  DETENTE  A lone BSF soldier peers across from a bunker set up on the terrace of a British colonial era building that served as a customs center for freight trains from what is now the Pakistani city of Sialkot not far from the border.  The command post offers covering fire to a string of bunkers dug in the high ground not far from the zero line to stop incursions from militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.  Further back, a double-layered barbed fence 8-12 feet high with concertina wire that India has erected all along the 1,800-mile (2,900-km) border stretching from Kashmir to the marshlands of Gujarat offers a second line of defense.  The fence is electrified and connected to a network of sensors, thermal imaging devices and alarms that India says has brought infiltration of militants into Kashmir to zero this summer for the first since the revolt began in 1989.  "The fence cannot stop them from trying to come. But it slows them down and gives our soldiers time to respond," said Swaran Lal, the headman of Suratgarh village who leads the civilian effort to keep a vigil on the border.  BORDER TRADE  The tenuous ceasefire has helped crack open the border, but only slightly. In 2008, the two governments agreed to allow limited trade and travel between the two parts of Kashmir they control, bowing to a long-standing demand of residents who often describe themselves as trapped between two big armies.  The trade, limited to 21 items, is small, hampered by the fact that it has to be done through a barter system because the two governments cannot reconcile themselves to accepting the other's currency, or even a third currency, in Kashmir.  Both fear accepting any of these measures would amount to relinquishing each country's claims over the whole of the region.  Traders have been left to their own devices, exchanging goods by using their own formula for calculating the value of the Pakistani rupee against the Indian rupee.  Still, it is a tentative opening that many believe could be the way to break the 60-year political stalemate over Kashmir. "Even the psychological impact of opening of our borders is huge," said Shakeel Qalandar, a former president of the Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir.  "For 50 years the only route open to us was south to India. Now a window has opened to undivided Kashmir."  Softening the borders of Kashmir through easier trade and travel was the basis of a 2007 draft roadmap agreed to by emissaries of India and Pakistan in secret, but it fell through because both governments got embroiled in difficulties at home.  Last month, the foreign ministers of the countries agreed to increase the number of trading days at two points on the Kashmir frontier from two days to four a week and to dispose of applications for travel across the border within 45 days instead of the three to four months it normally takes.  "They can do so much more for Kashmir, but the trust is lacking," said. "They take two steps forward and then quietly go back a step," said Arjimand Hussain Talib, an independent Kashmiri development expert, based in Kashmir's winter capital Srinagar.



National Defence Academy: A shining jewel among military training institutions

A shining jewel among the military training institutions in the world, the National Defence Academy has always striven to provide the best defence training to our budding military officers.

Computer-aided defence systems and warfare is the inevitable reality of our times. And playing its role to prepare India for this future is the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, Pune.

The NDA has an illustrious history as the world's first defence training institution to impart combined training to officer cadets of the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

Inaugurated 56 years ago, on January 16, 1955, the NDA has evolved continuously, keeping pace with time and grooming contemporary warrior officers for the nation. Consider this: In the early years, 70.4% of the training periods were devoted to academics, 8% for physical training, 7.7% to special service subjects and 5.7% to combined service subjects and weapons training.

In order to align with the 10+2+3 educational system prevalent in the country, the academy sought affiliation with the Jawaharlal Nehru University, (JNU), New Delhi, and the first NDA course to be awarded bachelors degrees was the 46th course in 1974.

Today, the NDA gives its alumni, BA, BSc and BSc (computers) degrees and the revised syllabus has 61% lecture devoted to academics, 15% for the foundation course, 8% for service specialist subjects and 16% for outdoor training ( physical training, drill, swimming and horse riding).

The NDA's alertness and agility stands exemplified by the manner in which it has embraced the IT revolution. Presently, all cadets, irrespective of their academic streams, need to be trained in IT skills such as database management, networking, multimedia and office automation.

Recently, the academy spent Rs10 crore in installing a campus area network (CAN) and to provide each of the 2,000 cadets with Thin Client computer notebooks. Cadets are now connected to their teachers and classrooms 24x7. The IT transformation has also seen the establishment of a new data centre and upgraded servers.Every classroom has its own computer and an LCD projector.

Cutting-edge training is also evident in the constant modernisation of the army, navy and air force training units. The Army Training Team (ATT), for instance, provides cadets with the modern, INSAS 5.56 rifles in the first term itself. Drona firing simulators have also been made available to the cadets.

The duration of Camp Torna, the rough-and-tough field training at the foothills of the Torna and Rajgarh forts for sixth termers, has also been increased from eight to ten days with heavy emphasis on night training. Ambush and patrolling exercises have been enhanced to provide all cadets with a feel of basic field operations.

The camp includes the attack operation of war and a capsule on counter-insurgency. Extensive training is imparted in the use of radio equipment and the final endurance-cum-navigation exercise culminates in the obstacle course and firing on the range.

The scenario is identical in the Air Force Training Team (AFTT) where the towed gliders of yesteryears have been replaced by the motorised, Super Dimona HK36TC powered gliders. This has brought about a paradigm shift in the flying training process and has greatly enhanced the confidence and flying skills of the NDA alumni.

AFTT's ground training includes classroom lectures on aviation and technical subjects like aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology, aero-engines, and air frames. The flying training comprises 10 sorties of seven-and-a- half hours of flying for each cadet on the Super Dimona power glider. The AFTT is also equipped with a PC-based flying training simulator which gives the cadets a feel of flying on an aircraft before commencement of flying.

The Naval Training Team (NTT) has the largest holding of boats in the country to impart waterman ship training. This includes a high speed boat; four, 420 class boats; parasail and soon-to-be-acquired five, wind surf boats and a new floating jetty.

Naval cadets are taught to be proficient in navigation, seamanship and communication. Training has also begun in the Koden navigational radar, navigation trainer and electronic chart system and simulator. A mini-planetarium called the Tara Mandal has been added.

The NDA aims at providing a strong foundation for a career in the Indian military services. On successful completion of the three-year course, cadets are awarded a university degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

They then proceed to attend the specific training establishments of the services- Army cadets go to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun; Air Force cadets to the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad and the Naval cadets to different training ships. Navy has the least number of vacancies (about 40) followed by Air Force (about 50), while the rest of the 300-odd seats are for the Army.


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