Indian Army instructors could shortly be snapping out commands — for the first time ever — at one of the finest training institutions in the world: the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Surrey, UK.
The British defence ministry is weighing a proposal to swap instructors between Sandhurst and the India Military Academy, Dehradun. Hayden Allan, special adviser to the UK defence minister, said the UK was working on the bilateral arrangement, hoping to open a new chapter in long-term defence exchanges with India.
The move will be a change for the IMA too as it has never had foreign instructors before.
The UK intends to swap captain-level instructors, drawn from the very best of the two armies.
Ordering cadets to do press-ups and pull-ups at Sandhurst will be a coveted assignment for any Indian instructor. Started as the Royal Military Academy in 1741, Sandhurst has trained generations of army officers of our former colonial ruler.
But at least two former Indian army chiefs, General Maharaj Sri Rajendra Sinhji and General JN Chaudhuri, were trained at Sandhurst.
Not surprisingly, so too were a number of Pakistani army chiefs, including Gen Ayub Khan, who went on to become the country's dictator. Other famous figures from Sandhurst include the late British prime minister Winston Churchill, the Sultan of Brunei, King Hussein of Jordan and Princes William and Harry.
The UK's keenness to swap army instructors are a reflection of India's lofty status in London's defence diplomacy.