Indian Military Academy
The Indian Military Academy (also known as IMA) is an officer training academy of the Indian Army located in Dehradun. It was established in 1932 following a recommendation by the Indian Military College Committee, which was set up under the chairmanship of Field Marshal Philip Chetwode in 1931. From a class of 40 male cadets in 1932, IMA now trains over approximately 400 gentleman cadets a class, with the total size of the institution being 1,650. Cadets undergo one year of training. On completion of the course at IMA, cadets are permanently commissioned into the army as a Lieutenant.
भारतीय सैन्य अकादमी
The main ground of IMA with Chetwode Hall and Chetwode Drill Square visible
|Armed Forces Academy, National Defence Academy|
वीरता और विवेक
(Veerta or Vivek)
Motto in English
|Valour and Wisdom|
|Established||1 October 1932|
Officer in charge
|Commandant, Lt. Gen Sanjay Kumar Jha|
|Campus||1,400 acres (5.7 km²)|
Logo of IMA. The colours are the academy colours – blood and steel. The motto, "Veerta or Vivek" (Valour and Wisdom) is inscribed on the crest below.
|Colours||Blood red and steel grey |
The Academy has produced many notable alumni, including recipients of India's highest military decoration, the Param Vir Chakra, and India's first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. Recipients of the Param Vir Chakra include Major Somnath Sharma, Captain Vikram Batra, Lieutenant Colonel Hoshiar Singh, and Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria to name a few. Other achievements by alumni include 17 Ashoka Chakras, 84 Maha Vir Chakras and 41 Kirti Chakras among other honours. Battle casualties[a] from the Academy total 817 alumni. Until 1 October 2019, the 87th Raising Day, over 61,000 gentleman cadets have graduated and over 3,000 foreign cadets from over 30 other states, including Afghanistan, Singapore, Zambia, and Malaysia have also attended IMA for pre-commission training.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Gentleman cadet life
- 4 Notable alumni
- 5 In popular culture
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 Further reading
Demands for an Indian military training academyEdit
During the Indian independence movement, Indian leaders recognized the need for a local military institution to meet the needs of an armed force loyal to sovereign India. The British Raj was reluctant to commission Indian officers or to permit local officer training. Until World War I, Indians were not eligible for commission as officers in the Indian Army.
Following the Indian military experience in World War I, where Indian soldiers proved their mettle, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms facilitated the officer training of 10 Indian commissioned officers at Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In 1922, the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (now known as the Rashtriya Indian Military College or just RIMC) was set up in Dehradun to prepare young Indians for admission to Sandhurst. The Indianisation of the Army started with the commissioning of 31 Indian officers. Among this first batch of officers to be commissioned was Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, who became the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and later the first Indian Field Marshal.
Despite demands from the Indian officers, the British resisted expansion of the Indian officer cadre. Indian leaders then pressed for the issue at the first Round Table Conference in 1930. Eventually, the establishment of an Indian officer training college was one of the few concessions made at the conference. The Indian Military College Committee, set up under the chairmanship of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, recommended in 1931 the establishment of an Indian Military Academy in Dehradun to produce forty commissioned officers twice a year following two and a half years of training.
Inauguration to IndependenceEdit
The Government of India transferred the former property of the Railway Staff College of the Indian Railways, with its 206-acre campus and associated infrastructure, to the Indian Military Academy. Brigadier L.P. Collins was appointed the first Commandant and the first batch of 40 Gentleman Cadets (GC), as IMA trainees are known, began their training on 1 October 1932. The institute was inaugurated on 10 December 1932 by Field Marshal Philip Chetwode.
In 1934, before the first batch had passed out, then Viceroy Lord Willingdon presented the first colours to the Academy on behalf of King George V. The first batch of cadets to graduate the Academy, graduating in December 1934, now known as the Pioneers, included Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Muhammad Musa and General Smith Dun, who became the Army Chiefs of India, Pakistan, and Burma, respectively. General Dun graduated at the top of his class at IMA and also commanded the passing out parade for the first course. The second, third, fourth and fifth batches were called, respectively, Immortals, Invincible, Stalwarts and Bahadurs.
(Maj Gen. A. S. Naravane (Retd) joined IMA on 29 January 1936)
(Naravane 2004, p. 11)
Through the first 16 regular courses that passed out of the Academy, until May 1941, 524 officers were commissioned. But the outbreak of the Second World War resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number of entrants, a temporary reduction in the training period to six months and an expansion of the campus. A total of 3,887 officers were commissioned between August 1941 and January 1946, including 710 British officers for the British Army. The Academy reverted to its original two and a half year course of training at the end of the war.
Following the Independence of India in August 1947, a number of trainers and cadets left for Britain and Pakistan. Brigadier Thakur Mahadeo Singh, DSO, was appointed the first Indian Commandant of the Academy. The 189 GCs who graduated on 20 December 1947 were the first class from IMA to be commissioned into a free India.
In late 1947, the Chiefs of Staff of the Indian Armed Forces, following the recommendation of a 1946 committee headed by Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, decided to initiate an action plan to commission a new Joint Services training academy. In the interim, they decided to conduct Joint Services training at IMA. The Academy was renamed the Armed Forces Academy and a new Joint Services Wing (JSW) was commissioned on 1 January 1949, while training of Army officers continued in the Military Wing. The Academy was renamed as the National Defence Academy (NDA) on 1 January 1950, ahead of India becoming a Republic. In December 1954, when the new Joint Services training academy was established in Khadakwasla, near Pune, the NDA name along with the Joint Services Wing was transferred to Khadakwasla. The Academy in Dehradun was then rechristened as Military College. Brigadier M.M. Khanna, MVC was the first IMA alumni to be appointed Commandant of IMA at the end of 1956. In 1960, the founding name, Indian Military Academy, was reinstated. On 10 December 1962, on the 30th anniversary of the Academy's inauguration, the second President of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, presented new colours to the Academy.
From 1963 until August 1964, following the Sino-Indian War, the duration of regular classes was truncated, emergency courses were initiated, and new living quarters for cadets were added. However, unlike previous wars, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and that of 1971 did not disrupt Academy training or graduation schedules. During this time, on 11 February 1971, William G Westmoreland, Chief of Staff, United States Army, visited the Academy.
In 1976, the four battalions of the Academy were renamed after Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Lieutenant General Premindra Singh Bhagat, with two companies each. On 15 December 1976, then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed presented new colours to the IMA. In the 1970s, the Army Cadet College (ACC) was shifted from Pune to Dehradun, becoming a wing of the IMA. In 2006, the ACC was merged into the IMA as the fifth battalion, the Siachen Battalion.
By 1 October 2019, the 87th Raising Day, the number of GCs to have graduated from IMA stood at 61,762, including foreign alumni from 33 friendly countries. Foreign countries included Angola, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
The Academy is located in the Doon Valley (Dronacharya Ashram), Uttarakhand. National Highway 72, the Dehradun-Chakrata Road, separates the North and South Campus. The campus of the Academy covers an area of 1,400 acres (5.7 km2). The Chetwode Hall on the Drill Square, built in 1930, houses the administrative headquarters of the IMA and is also the hub of academic training. It has lecture halls, computer labs and a cafe. On the opposite side of the Drill Square is the Khetarpal Auditorium. Opened in 1982, it has a seating capacity of over 1,500. A newer wing of the Chetwode Hall, added in 1938, houses the Central Library. It has over 100,000 volumes and subscriptions to hundreds of periodicals from across the world, in addition to multimedia sections. In addition, there are two branch libraries closer to the cadet barracks across the campus.
The IMA Museum on the campus displays artifacts of historic importance such as the pistol of Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi of the Pakistan Army, given upon his surrender to Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora after signing the Instrument of Surrender to end the Liberation War of 1971. A Patton tank captured from Pakistan Army is also on the grounds.
The South Campus of the IMA includes facilities such as the Somnath Stadium, with a seating capacity of 3,000, the Salaria Aquatic Centre, consisting of an Olympic sized swimming pool, and the Hoshiar Singh Gymnasium. The North Campus includes the polo ground along the Tons River. Tons Valley to the Northwest of the campus, which is bounded by the forks and bends of the Tons River. It is used for para-dropping and para-gliding, besides battle training. Other facilities include stables with a stud farm, a small arms shooting range, and the Épée Fencing Modern Pentathlon.
The IMA War Memorial, with its pillars and columns of Dholpur stone, pays homage to the alumni of the Academy who have fallen in the course of action. At the Sanctum sanctorum of the memorial is a bronze statue of a Gentleman Cadet with a sword presenting arms. The memorial was inaugurated by Field Marshal Manekshaw on 17 November 1999, just weeks after the Kargil War. IMA officers led and fought in the war, with some of them becoming household names in India for their gallantry. Among their ranks were two Param Vir Chakra recipients and eight Maha Vir Chakra recipients. In 2017, Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz Parray was the 847th name to be engraved on the War Memorial.
Gentleman cadet lifeEdit
There are various modes of entry into IMA, which include: on graduation from National Defence Academy, on graduation from Army Cadet College (a wing of IMA itself, direct entry through the civil services exam followed by SSB exams, and technical entry under university and college schemes.
A trainee on admission to IMA is referred to as a Gentleman Cadet (GC). One reason for this is that the Academy expects its graduates to uphold the highest moral and ethical values. Inscribed in the oak paneling at the eastern entrance of the Chetwode Hall is the Academy's credo, excerpted from the speech of Field Marshal Chetwode at the inauguration of the Academy in 1932:
The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.— Field Marshal Philip Chetwode[b]
The Freshman GCs hail from diverse backgrounds. Whatever the difference, the Academy plays a vital role in molding and anchoring it into a common bonding. Training makes well-rounded men out of the cadets. The training is action-filled, intense, diverse and fast. Significant emphasis is placed on self discipline – "the true armour".
The training is a test of the GC's mettle, abilities and psychologically a preview of what GCs would come face to face with in the battlefield where failure is not an option. The training also becomes a pathway to understanding the more profound aspects of character building such as honour and loyalty, and the other important values of life.
(Singh 2007, p. 8)
IMA cadets are organized as a regiment with four training battalions, of four companies each. There were sixteen companies in 2013. Battalions are named for generals of the Indian Army (except for Siachen Battalion), while companies are named after battles in which the Army has participated.
- Cariappa Battalion: Kohima Company, Naushera Company, Poonch Company, Hajipir Company
- Thimayya Battalion: Alamein Company, Meiktila Company, Dograi Company, Chushul Company
- Manekshaw Battalion: Imphal Company, Zojila Company, Jessore Company, Sangro Company
- Bhagat Battalion: Sinhgarh Company, Keren Company, Cassino Company, Basantar Company
- Siachen Battalion: Erstwhile Army Cadet College
Technical graduates, ex-NDA, ex-ACC and university entry cadets undergo training at IMA for one year. Direct entry cadets train for one and a half years while the TA officers course is for 3 months. A Gentleman Cadet gets a stipend of Rs 56,100/- per month for the duration of the course (as per the 7th pay commission).
With the mission of grooming future military leaders of the Indian Army, the training regime at IMA progressively moulds the physical and mental attributes and sharpens the operational and administrative skills of cadets. Physical training, drills, weapons training, leadership development and practices form the focus of the training with the aim of making cadets "capable of combating contemporary conflict realities". Character building is embedded in the honour code of IMA "I shall not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate those who do so". The "Warrior Code" of IMA which has been adopted from the "Bhagwat Gita", the punch line of it being "I am a Warrior, fighting is my dharma;" also talks of compassion.
Weapon training includes the Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Range, the Location of Miss and Hit Target System (LOMAH), Jungle Lane Shooting and the Team Battle Shooting Range (TBSR). The curriculum is reviewed from time to time and adapted to whatever the current situation the country is in. Cadets are also put in roles where they need to think like the enemy such as in Exercise Chindit where some GCs are asked to act as terrorists while others have to capture them. They are trained in various forms of warfare – conventional war, proxy war, low intensity conflict, counter-insurgency etc.
Games and sports include cross country, hockey, basketball, polo, athletics, football, aquatics, volleyball and boxing. There is also an annual sports meet with other military academies in India. Adventure activities undertaken at the Academy include trekking, cycling, and rock climbing. The nature of training at the academy is dangerous and cadets have died during training.
Passing Out ParadeEdit
There are various traditions in IMA and one of the most well known is the Passing out Parade (POP). Before the cadets begin the POP, the band plays an aarti, allowing the cadets to pray to their respective gods. Traditionally, the adjutant leads the parade cracking a joke to lighten the atmosphere. Having senior officers present during the POP is a morale booster for the cadets. In 2019, the reviewing officer for the 136th parade was Lt. Gen. Cherish Mathson.
During the POP, a civilian dignitary may also make a speech, as was the case during the passing out parade in 1962 when the President Dr S. Radhakrishnan addressed the cadets, and in 2007 when the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did so. In 1982, during the golden jubilee, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi inspected the POP while in 1992, the President R. Venkataraman reviewed the diamond jubilee POP (winter term). In 2006, President APJ Abdul Kalam was the reviewing officer at the POP.
The finale is the antim path (final step), where cadets take the last step into Chetwode Hall. The tradition of cap-flinging during the passing out parade has a long past but it was stopped in 2010 and replaced by the cadets doing celebratory pushups. The passing out also consists of traditions such as presentation of a "Sword of Honour" to the best GC. Notable recipients of the Sword of Honour include the current Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat (in 1978) and the Olympian and union minister Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (in 1990).
Over 61,000 GCs have graduated from IMA. IMA alumni have led and fought in every conflict in which the Indian Army has been called upon to render service since the academy was established. Numerous alumni have earned laurels, made the ultimate sacrifice and been honoured with gallantry awards. Till 2016, alumni from the academy are recipients of 7 Param Vir Chakras, 17 Ashoka Chakras, 84 Maha Vir Chakras and 257 Vir Chakras. Alumni are also recipients of 2 Sarvattam Yudh Seva Medals, 28 Uttam Yudh Seva Medals, 48 Kirti Chakras and 191 Shaurya Chakras. Battle casualties from the Academy total to 817 alumni.
In 1941, during World War II, then 2nd Lieutenant Premindra Singh Bhagat was awarded the Victoria Cross. Captain Mateen Ahmed Ansari and Captain Sartaj Singh were awarded the George Cross and George Medal respectively. 73 Military Crosses were awarded to IMA alumni during that war and over 200 alumni were killed in action. Lt. Gen. Kashmir Singh Katoch, a Padma Bhushan recipient and the military advisor to Hari Singh, the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Kashmir, completed his military training from IMA in 1936.
During the Kargil War of 1999, the Maha Vir Chakra was awarded posthumously to Academy alumni, Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, Major Vivek Gupta, Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse and Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongrum. Major Balwan Singh and Major Sonum Wangchuk were also awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. Lt. Triveni Singh was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra Award.
Alumni who have been honoured with the Param Vir Chakra include Major Somnath Sharma (posthumous), Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria (posthumous), Lieutenant Colonel Hoshiar Singh, 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal (posthumous), Captain Vikram Batra (posthumous), and Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (posthumous).
Sam Manekshaw, an alumnus of IMA, was the first Indian to become a Field Marshal. Other graduates of IMA include General Bipin Rawat, the current Chief of Army Staff (COAS), as well as a number of past COASs including General Vijay Kumar Singh, General Bikram Singh, General Deepak Kapoor and General Sunith Francis Rodrigues. A number of Vice Chief of Army Staff are also alumni of IMA such as Lt. Gen. Philip Campose, Lt. Gen. Sarath Chand and Lt. Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane. Lt. Gen. Z.C. Bakshi (PVSM, MVC, VrC, VSM), an alumnus of IMA, was "India's most decorated General". Lt. Gen. Harbakhsh Singh, a 1933 batch GC of IMA, also a Japanese POW for three years, was the Western Army Commander during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
The Academy has produced Olympians such as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a 1990 Sword of Honor recipient, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and went on to become the sports minister; Colonel Balbir Singh Kular scored three goals in hockey during the 1968 Olympics and was captain of the Indian team in the 1971 World Cup; Lt. Col. Haripal Kaushik and Lt. Col. Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara were also hockey players who won gold medals in the Olympics. IMA alumni who have received India's highest award for sports, the Arjuna Award, include Major General Mohammed Amin Naik for his achievements in rowing and Brigadier Raj Manchanda for his achievements in squash among others. Lt. Col. Satyendra Verma carried out the first base jump in the country. Many alumni have conquered peaks such as Mount Everest.
Some of the IMA's foreign alumni include:
- General M. A. G. Osmani – Commander-in-Chief of the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini
- General Yahya Khan – Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army and third President of Pakistan
- Col. Sahabzada Yaqub Khan – Pakistan Ambassador to the United States and later the Foreign Minister
- General Muhammad Musa – Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army
- Lt. General Habibullah Khan Khattak – Chief of General Staff, Pakistan Army
- Tun Hussein Onn – third Prime Minister of Malaysia
- General Ibrahim Ismail – Chief of Staff of the Malaysian Armed Forces
- General Ibrahim Babangida – former military president of Nigeria
- Captain Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim – Crown prince of Johor state, Malaysia[c]
- Maj. General Smith Dun – Chief of Army Staff Myanmar Army, Sword of Honour IMA
- Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai – an Afghan Taliban politician
In 2019, foreign cadets taking part in the spring term passing out parade numbered 77 with Afghanistan having the most number of foreign gentleman cadets graduating, 45 in total. In the POP on 10 December 2005, Penjor Gyeltshen, an officer from the Royal Bhutan Army, became the first foreigner since India's independence to win the Sword of Honour (presented to the best cadet). In 1972, Prince Tu'ipelehake was the first Tongan to attend IMA.
In popular cultureEdit
The 2004 Bollywood film Lakshya is partly shot in IMA as well as the Tamil film Vaaranam Aayiram. In 2015 Tanushree Podder penned a novel called "On The Double: Drills, Drama, and Dare-Devilry at the Indian Military Academy", a fictional portrayal of a Gentleman Cadet's life. Making of a Warrior, a documentary by Dipti Bhalla and Kunal Verma, provides an inside look at IMA's culture, traditions and training regime.
Notes and referencesEdit
- Battle casualty is the official term used by the Government of India for a soldier killed in action.
- A shorter version of this is used as the academy's credo - "Your country first, the men you command next, and yourself last".
- Captain Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim's father, Ibrahim Ismail of Johor, and grandfather, Iskandar of Johor, had also trained at IMA
- Singh 2007, p. 86.
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- Singh 2007, p. 4.
- Singh 2007, p. xi.
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