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Army to set up third training academy

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given its nod to the Indian Army’s proposal to set up a new military academy.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 00:48 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given its nod to the Indian Army’s proposal to set up a new military academy. The proposed academy would be the army’s third exclusive training school after the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun and the Officer’s Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai.

Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi has emerged as one of the favourite destinations for the proposed academy, MoD sources said. The army is currently finalising the “permanent key location plan” for the academy.

At present, the army faces a shortage of over 12,000 officers, mostly in the middle rung of its hierarchy. Defence ministry sources told HT, “Fine-tuning of army’s selection procedures, without diluting standards, can help offset officer shortage in the medium to long term. But the existing training facilities do not permit additional intake. It is in that light that the MOD has agreed to the setting up of a new Officer’s Training Centre.”

Infantry battalions are facing an unprecedented officer crunch. The IMA and OTA are equipped to train over 1,500 and 500 cadets every year, respectively. Training infrastructure at OTA, set up in January 1963 in the wake of the Chinese aggression, is being beefed up to cater to around 750 cadets. However, not many in the army feel that augmenting training facilities would help tackle the problem of shortage.

A senior officer said, “Only 197 cadets joined the NDA in January 2008, against 300 vacancies. The other academies are also not functioning to full capacity. Tinkering with selection standards to increase intake can have serious consequences.” But hinting at the need to review existing procedures, the ministry has admitted that some of the selection tests are “too rigorous and impracticable.”

Sources said candidates were often rejected on trivial grounds. A panel appointed by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) recently submitted a report that said the selection procedure is extremely rigourous.

First Published: Jan 05, 2009 00:48 IST