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Indian Military News
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Navy eyes new submarines for blue-water capability</b>

New Delhi: The Indian Navy has set the ball rolling for acquisition of new warships and submarines.

India has made it clear that it wants more muscle at sea and has kick-started the process of acquiring six new hunter-killer submarines and seven new frigates.

Of particular significance is its decision to go in for a new line of submarines, which will for the first time give India an assured capability to attack targets on land from under the sea.

Request for information have recently been issued to the French DCNS, Spanish Navantia, Russian Rubin and German HDW.

"It is a new submarine. It is not the Scorpene and it is a bigger submarine with specific features," Alain Fougeron, Executive VP, DCNS says about its new submarines.

The key differentiator from its existing fleet of 16 submarines will be a new class of missiles, which will establish India as the leading naval power in the region.

"The missile component of the Submarine weapon is very important and it should be very powerful," Andrey V Efimov, Manager, Rubin Design Bureau, says.

By considering four options India has sent a message that it wants to diversify its weapons procurement beyond traditional arms supplier Russia.

Its 30-year submarine building programme had envisaged a Russian line of Amur submarines beside the French Scorpene for which India signed up in 2005.

But now the Amur is not a certainty even though the Russians claim it is superior.

"Its capable of providing salvos for different targets," Efimov says about Amur submarines.

The other big decision is to approach the US for partnership for building seven frigates as part of the Indian Navy's Project 17A.

Russians and Europeans are also in the fray for the project.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Ocean’s India</b>
Thursday, February 14, 2008

<b>Indian Navy promotes a genuine maritime multilateralism in the region.</b>

The Indian Express: This week India hosts naval chiefs from around the Indian Ocean. The first meeting of what is being called the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium marks the maturation of the navy as an important tool of this country’s regional security strategy.

It also underlines India’s recognition of its enlightened self-interest in promoting multilateral approaches to Indian Ocean security. After decades of being a “lone ranger”, it is now ready to build a cooperative security framework in the region.

New Delhi’s earlier efforts, in the 1970s and 1980s, to promote a regional approach to littoral security were defined by an unrealistic slogan — the “Indian Ocean as a zone of peace”.

India’s demand that “extra-regional” navies should withdraw from the Indian Ocean was met with hostility from the great powers and cynicism from our neighbours. Both believed the slogan was too thin a veil over New Delhi’s perceived ambition to convert the Indian Ocean into “India’s Ocean”.

India’s military isolation in the name of non-alignment reinforced the opaqueness of its maritime intentions. India’s argument that throwing out extra-regional powers would lead to peace and stability was fundamentally flawed. Great powers have stakes in far corners of the world, as a rising China and India are beginning to discover now, and there were no dearth of regional rivalries in the Indian Ocean.

Since the end of the Cold War, India’s bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with a large number of neighbours and great powers have helped reduce the misperceptions about India’s maritime intentions and raise the regional awareness of the navy’s capacity to contribute to peace and security in the Indian Ocean littoral.

The IONS marks the next step, in which India has taken the leadership to promote a genuine maritime multilateralism in the region.

This initiative comes amidst the rapidly expanding geopolitical significance of the Indian Ocean. The value of the Persian Gulf’s hydrocarbons and Africa’s mineral resources to the rest of the world has gone up steeply. Safe shipment of these resources to consumers around the world has become a major international security concern.

The Indian navy, which sits on top of these vital sea-lanes, must inevitably play a large role in promoting the maritime public goods in the Indian Ocean. The message from New Delhi this week is simple: India is ready to undertake its new maritime responsibilities in cooperation with the rest of the region.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Scorpene-Brahmos twin offer</b>

The Scorpene submarine could be fitted with the underwater version of the Brahmos cruise missiles, to enhance the Indian Navy’s strategic firepower capability, the French Company, Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) announced on Sunday.

“If India wants, Brahmos cruise missiles can be fitted on the Scorpene being built under technology transfer at Mazagaon docks,” DCNS project director Xavier Marchal told newspersons at the ongoing Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) sponsored Defence-Expo.DCNS is manufacturing the submarine.

If New Delhi gives the go ahead, it would increase the potential of the Navy, giving it a second option of firing missiles from submarines. The Navy’s recently upgraded Russian Kilo class submarines are armed with shore strike missiles.

DCNS executive vice president and chief operating officer Bernard Planchais also announced that teething problems in effecting technology transfer have been taken care of and the first of the Indian Navy’s six Scorpene submarines will roll out in 2012.

“I have reviewed the progress of the work at the Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai recently, where the submarines are being constructed, and everything is going well. I am confident that we will be able to deliver all the submarines as per schedule,” Planchais said.

He added that the DCNS would be contending for Navy’s subsequent orders for six more submarines.

India proposes to have 24 submarines with a mix of conventional and nuclear, under the 20:20 submarine vision of the Navy. India is to acquire a nuclear submarine on lease from Russia next year, when its own advance technology vehicle would be ready for sea trials.

Asked whether Scorpenes were better than Agosta, the submarines which are being constructed by the DCNS for Pakistan Navy, DCNS project director Xavier Marchal said, “Of course Agostas are inferior than Scorpenes”.

Marchal said Indian naval shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd has awarded DCNS a contract to supply propulsion equipment and auxiliaries, including thrust blocks, for four type P28 anti-submarine warfare corvettes for the Indian Navy.

The contract is led by a partnership comprising DCNS and Indian company Walchandagar Industries Ltd.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Latest Kalashnikovs to be made in India</b>

NEW DELHI: With the 61st anniversary of the famed Kalashnikov AK-47 series around the corner, the Russian manufacturer of the world's best-known assault rifle announced that the latest AK-100 series will be manufactured in India.

The Russian arms company, Izhmash, will shortly issue a licence to an Indian private arms manufacturer with whom negotiations are at an advanced stage. Company spokesperson Alexander Xavarzin said assembling of the AK-103 will begin in a year's time and full-scale manufacturing would start once the technology transfer takes place.

The company hopes to sell the gun to various police and paramilitary forces in the country as well as the army. It will not be exported.

The popularity of the assault rifle can be gauged from the fact that originals account for only 8-12% of the total world sales of the Kalashnikov series - the rest are all Kalashnikov clones being manufactured in several countries, according to the Izhmash spokesperson.

Unlike the AK-47 rifle which has a wooden base, the new generation AK-100 series is much lighter and has a body made of plastic. Xavarzin said the plastic component makes it an all-weather rifle, well suited to Indian conditions where soldiers have to trek at high altitudes for a number of days at a stretch.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>IAF's missile warning system to be tested in four months</b>

A missile warning system, being jointly developed by the Indian Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) and European defence and aerospace consortium EADS for the Indian Air Force, will be tested in the next four months.

"The deliveries are complete, the integration tests in DARE's multi-sensor self protection suite have already been conducted and will be tested in several platforms. The tests will be terminated in the course of the next four months," EADS' Head of Communications Theodor Benien told PTI in the ongoing Defence Expo here.

The partners are developing jointly the missile warning system based on EADS' proven warning sensor MILDS AN/AAR-60 and integrated into the existing multi-sensor warning system of the Indian armed force.

As part of the agreement, EADS in a first step is delivering 36 sensors for further integration and development.

"India is a priority country for EADS offers market potential and solid aerospace and defence competences. This project is a clear signal of commitment to India, not only as a market but also as an industrial partner.

"EADS and Indian government are poised to strengthen their cooperation in the highly sensitive field of electronic warfare," he said.

The MILDS AN/AAR-60 is an advanced, passive imaging sensor which detects and tracks the UV emissions of approaching missiles, including the most prevalent threat of heat seeking shoulder launched Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).

The system provides full coverage, a low false alarm and maximum warning time to enable the deployment of counter- measures such as chaff/flares. With a very low false alarm rate and fast detection combined with automatic initiation of counter-measures, MILDS AN/AAR-60 relieves the pilot's workload in time critical situations and ensures the safe return of both crew and aircraft.

The sensor has been sold in more than 5,600 units across the globe and is in service aboard a huge variety of rotary wing and wide body aircraft, a version of fighter aircraft is under development.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Technology seminar on Warship Design and Production at DefExpo 2008

New Delhi: Rear Admiral M.K. Bhadwar, VSM, Director General of Naval Design, Integrated HQ of Ministry of Defence (Navy) today chaired the technology seminar on Warship Design and Production as part of the DefExpo 2008 organised jointly by the Ministry of Defence and CII.

Initiating the discussion at the Seminar, Rear Admiral Badhwar said that the realisation of a new warship was a complex process anywhere in the world and India had also drawn up a detailed process for warship acquisition. <b>He was of the view that indigenous design content had acted as a strong catalyst with the industry and indigenous design in warship building had gone up to 90 per cent.</b>

He however pointed out that Industry was still reluctant to associate with the naval shipyards without firm orders and it should also be willing to invest in research and development.

Cdr (Dr) Nagesh from the Indian Navy while giving an insight into warship design and warship production stressed on the tides of changes which the Indian Navy was going through. Talking of the navy aspirations he said there was a need for flexibility and agility platform and to harness the Cots technology. There is a need to adopt the best practices and articulation of training philosophies.

He stressed on the need for raising a joint venture design bureau between the naval shipyards and the industry. He said there was a need for collaborative construction and proposed the setting up of a integrated product data environment.

He said in the intense phase of modernization in the Indian navy there was a increased thrust on indigenous acquisition of ships and submarines.

He said that warship building started way back in 1960s at the Mazagon Shipyard and first of the six ships were delivered in 1972. He said that nine more ships were later designed and delivered to the Indian navy. There was a major thrust in the 1970s on the construction of the Godavari Class ships that being part of the Project 16.

<b>Construction of the Delhi Class destroyers was a major feather in the cap of the naval shipyards and the major cyclone it faced on the seas in 2001 illustrated the strength of the design by the naval shipyards. He said among the projects in hand were presently the construction of Shivalik, Satpura and Sahyadri warships. Construction of three Kolkata-class ships was also underway at the Mazagon shipyard and the first of it would be delivered in 2010.</b>

While pointing out that designing of 17 ships ranging in various class was under construction, he said that Government had also given clearance for the construction of an indigenous aircraft carrier as part of Project 71. The 252 meter carrier would have the capability to hold 30 fixed winged aircraft on board.

He also pointed out that at present the Navy’s design capability was overstreched and pointed to the need for having skeleton groups to handle various aspects of the warship design.

He also stressed on the need for a greater defence shipyard and ancillary industry partnership and proposed for a increased private sector participation in warship building. He said that there was a considerable progress in the indigenous production of weapons. The increased indigenous production would only give India an advantage and better control over various aspects involved in production.

While saying that there was a major gap in supply and demand, he pointed out that timely delivery of warships was crucial and navy expects that the schedule of delivery is maintained by the shipyards.

Other speakers at theseminar included Brigadier General (Retd) Hubert Morelle, Miniltary Advisor CNIM, France, Cmde (Retd) Mukesh Bhargava, Head Marine Business L&T Ltd, L.A. Joshi Executive VP, LEBG and Special Projects Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd, Cdr (Retd) Gopakumar Jagannath T, Senior Deputy General Manager (D&E) BEL and Laurent Fabrice DCNS, France.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indian Air Force inducts radars to deal with bird hits</b>

Feb 24, 2008

New Delhi: There have been six fighter plane crashes in four years, and all due to bird hits. To tackle with this problem the Indian Air Force is now investing in bird radars.

When a bird hits a plane flying at supersonic speed, the impact is enough to damage the aircraft's control permanently.

Three years ago that is exactly what happened to Sqn Leader K R Murthy when his MiG 21 crashed at the Bangalore airport, killing him on the spot.

World over the aviation industry suffers a loss of $1.5 billion every year because of bird hits. As the losses are immense, the Indian Air Force has finally decided to take strong steps to curb the menace.

"Each aircraft costs us lakhs. Some of the planes we lost are not even available any more and the loss of a pilot's life is irreplaceable," DG, Flight Safety, Air Marshal V K Verma said.

But now a solution seems to be in sight. The bird radars at all its Air Force bases will track the movement and activity of birds and once the flying patterns are established corrective measures will be taken like installing shiny reflectors and laser equipments to scare the birds away without harming them.

"Birds are free to fly and we can't stop them. We have to alter our flying according to their movement. It's there that the radars would come handy," Verma said.

Bases like Hindon located near Delhi have suffered the most due to bird activity as they had to abandon flying all together, but now with the bird radar in place hopefully things will change for the better.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Soldiers rerun desert battle of 1971 Indo-Pak war</b>

The desert reverberated with heavy artillery fire today as soldiers recreated one of the most decisive battles of the 1971 Indo-Pak war when a handful of 'faujis' took on a 2,500-strong advancing column.

Witness to the replay of the "Laungewala Epic" of December 5-6, 1971, was Defence Minister A K Antony on his first visit to this historic spot.

About 120 soldiers of Punjab Regiment's 23rd battalion held back the 51st Infantry Brigade and 22nd Armoured Regiment of the Pakistani army until the IAF flew in and repulsed the first major attack on Indian soil.

<b>Two Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice during the intense two-day battle which saw the Pakistani side lose over 100 soldiers and 37 tanks.

One Pak tank, battered and soot-covered, was on display during a 20-minute live presentation at the battlefield in Jaisalmer district, about 15 km from the border.</b>

Highlights of the battle rerun were an intercepted message in which a Pakistani soldier tells his superiors about the worsening situation and the killing of three Pakistani officers who had come to assess their strength.

It also recalled the emotionally charged address of Area Commander Maj Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri to his soldiers not to run away from the battle and to fight to the finish.

"If some wants to run away, they can do it now," he had said.

Antony suggested that the presentation be made available for the public.

<b>By sheer determination and dedication, a 100 soldiers under the valiant leadership of Maj Chandpuri were able to defeat a large segment of the Pakistani Army in 1971.</b>
Communist inspired article appeared on congress mouthpiece HT
Army lied to the nation on Laungewala, says air ace

Why now? what is the reason?
Pressure on Army to toe Moron Singh on J&K and nuke.?
Mudy such type of news are published in newspapers run by communists to discredit the armed forces or to create an impression that there is an infighting in the armed forces.

Communists always want to sabotage and malign state institutions like the armed forces so that there is no opposition to their chelas like the naxals when they try to violently take over the nation.

I hope you realize the situation and would delete the above post.
No need to delete, this is very serious issue. Congress is destroying judiciary and now Armed forces.
Is Sonia is sleeping with China now, we know Moron SIngh is in bed with Ford and Rockafellar foundation and Marx-UK.
This is very serious matter. Jaichands are running country and Indians are fools who are letting them run country.
Mudy i think you did not understand the point. The article is an plant by the commies to take potshots at the army. By posting such articles you are helping the commies. I hope atleast now you will do the needful by deleting the article link.
I know this is commie plant but question is timing and intention. We should understand media and establishment role.
Lot of people don't understand, even in this forum you can find Maoist cheerleader.
For discussing stories planted in Indian newspapers we have the Media In India/elsewhere -2 thread.

Wont it be better if we delete our previous posts and discuss the news about the army story in that thread?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>India's defence spending falls below two per cent of GDP</b>

Mar 3, 2008

New Delhi, Mar 3 : For the first time in the last 10 years the defence spending will fall below two per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to fiscal pressures and larger allocations for farm, health and education sectors.

<b>The successive parliamentary committees on defence have recommended allocation to be raised to at least 3-3.5 per cent of the GDP if the armed forces are to rapidly modernise.

The outlay will fall short of the requirements if the programme for acquisition of modern aircraft for the Indian Air Force, new ships and submarines for the Indian Navy and new Artillery for the Army are to materialise.</b>

In addition the pay commission will levy further burdens on the budget. There is no indication that Finance Minister P Chidambaram has provided for the proposed increase in salaries for defence personnel as suggested by the Defence Ministry.

"Indian military modernisation is suffering due to the incremental approach whereas military world over are modernising rapidly," said Brigadier (retired) Gurmeet Kanwal, Director of Centre for Land and Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

Brigadier Kanwal said that 10 per cent hike is not much when there is an inflation of 4 to 4.5 percent, and added that actual hike is around five percent.

He said that due to bureaucratic red-tapism some contracts failed to materialise last year.

<b>India's defence spending continue to be below two per cent of the GDP far less compared to Pakistan's five per cent and China's almost seven per cent.

India seldom spends its entire budget allocation for defence because of red tape associated with arms purchases, and defence analysts said unless it clears pending deals faster, the budgetary allocation would not make any difference.</b>

The budgetary hike to defence sector in actual terms is 14.16 per cent as compared to that of last year because the Defence Ministry could only spend rupees 925 billion, leaving a sum of Rs35 billion unspent.

The cancellation of two major contracts for purchase of helicopters and 155 MM artillery guns led to the rise of 4.16 per cent in budget.

Defence sector was allocated Rs1056 billion, a hike of 10 per cent from last year's allocation of Rs 960 billion to speed up the modernisation plans, but the process is delayed by red tapism and bureaucratic hurdles.

It is clear that the budget will focus on up gradation of armaments with the allocation on capital outlay running into Rs480 billion, a hike of almost 23.3 per cent over last year's outlay of over Rs377 billion.

Capital estimates last year were over Rs419 billion of which the Defence Ministry only spent Rs377.05 billion.

Of the total allocation, Rs.480 billion has been earmarked for the purchase of hardware and Rs.579 billion for the three services and for R and D.

Of the three services, the fourth largest army will likely get the lion's share of (Rs362 billion), followed by the Indian Air Force (Rs108 billion) and the Indian Navy (Rs74 billion).

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been allocated Rs33 billion.

In addition, Rs155 billion for pensions and Rs440 million for the 22 Sainik Schools in the country to enable them improve their infrastructure and sports facilities.

There are several big procurements in the pipeline, which range from the Rs 80 billion purchase of eight long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the Navy to the Army's Rs 120 billion artillery modernisation plan.

India is also planning one of its biggest ever arms purchases, a 10 billion dollars deal to buy 126 fighter jets.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Shortage of aircrafts in Navy</b>

Mar 3, 2008

New Delhi : The Indian Navy has been facing a shortage of sea Harriers, the carrier-based vertical take off jet fighter aircraft.

Introduced in the Navy over two decades ago, it was decided to upgrade the aircraft in 2005.

A Contract for the limited upgrade of Sea Harrier aircraft was concluded with M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in March 2005 at a cost of Rs. 4766.9 million. The upgradation programme is expected to be completed by 2009.

This has temporarily affected the availability of the aircraft, Defence Minister A K Antony gave this information in a written reply in the Parliament today.

The Defence Minister also stated that the Government does not propose to introduce compulsory military service in the country.

According to the latest statistics the Army is grappling with a shortage of 11,238 officers in an authorized strength of 46,615. Around 3,000 officers have applied for premature retirement since 2004.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Flight testing of Tejas progressing as per schedule</b>

March 03, 2008

Flight test programme of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas is progressing as per the schedule. So far, 829 flight tests have been completed.

<b>Efforts are being made to accelerate the flight tests.</b> Regular review meetings are being conducted involving Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Indian Air Force (IAF) and other concerned agencies to take collective decisions and coordination. <b>Presently, no need is felt for strategic partner.</b>

To complete the project at the earliest, a top level review is being conducted by the Chief of Air Staff once in every quarter and review by the Deputy Chief of Air Staff once in every month. So far, Rs. 4806.312 cr have been spent on development of various versions of Light Combat Aircraft.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri A K Antony in a written reply to Shri Adhalrao Patil Shivajirao, Shri K.S. Rao and Shri Ravi Prakash Verma in Lok Sabha today.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<img src='http://pib.nic.in/photo/2008/Mar/s2008030417131.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
The Defence Minister, Shri A. K. Antony presented the Best Marching Contingent Trophy to Brigadier Deepak Khurana of Raj Rifles for this year's Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi on March 4, 2008.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indian Army conducting Exercise Dakshin Shakti</b>

New Delhi, March 3: Troops from the Indian Army’s Southern Command are deploying to the desert in Rajasthan to test new land warfare doctrines woven around technology procured recently for the armed forces.

Exercise Dakshin Shakti involving troops of a desert formation and a strike corps begins this week. It will culminate in a firepower demonstration christened Brazen Chariots on March 19.

Indian Air Force fighter aircraft and helicopters will also be used for the war games. Dakshin Shakti is one of the largest war games to be conducted by the army in recent years.

Although the Jodhpur-headquartered formation, also known as the 12 (Desert) Corps, will be at the centre of the drill, troop carriers and tanks from the Bhopal-based 21 Corps have also been pulled in.

Army headquarters sources are not detailing the criteria for the drill. But it is clearly a test of speed and force for troops whose operational brief is to capture and hold on to enemy territory while keeping own supply lines intact.

<b>“Army formations will be exercised through the full spectrum of simulated operations in desert terrain,” an army statement said today.</b>

Although the troops have started “concentrating”, the actual war game will be spread over 10 days.

Troops will be split into “red” (enemy) and “blue” (friendly) forces. The battle space will run parallel to the international boundary with Pakistan — so that the formations are not positioned in a manner that would present a threat — and <b>every movement will be monitored on video screens by controllers with the help of newly acquired “network-centric” capabilities.</b>

<b>“India has over the past few years acquired new and advanced capability in all spheres and undertaken a massive drive to modernise its armed forces,” the army statement said.</b>

“Exercise Dakshin Shakti will see the Southern Command of the army and the Southwestern Command of the IAF coming together to validate the land doctrine in a mechanised and network-centric environment.

<b>“The army would be testing and integrating its newly acquired weapon systems as well as its reconnaissance and surveillance systems.”</b>

The manoeuvres will include mechanised movement of infantry and artillery units with combat-support elements. Smaller exercises leading up to Dakshin Shakti had been held at the level of brigades and battalions. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Boardroom to barracks - New Age Recruits to Indian Army</b> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

At a time when the Army faces a severe shortage of talent, with few youngsters opting for the rigours of military service, <b>there are some bravehearts who have chosen to give up their dream of a cushy and affluent corporate life. They have joined the Army, and have no regrets.</b>

Himanshu Yadav is one such gentleman cadet at the Indian Military Academy, set on a sprawling campus in Dehradun. <b>He gave up a call centre job at GE Money to pursue a dream he always had - to serve his country. "What I was doing there was not satisfying. After a point, it was the same routine. Yes, I was being paid good money but I felt something lacking in my life," says the young man from Delhi, as he takes a break from one of his training classes. </b>

<b>When he decided to give up his job to take the exam for IMA, he didn't face any opposition from his family. Even his friends were encouraging. He knows that they secretly envied him. "Everyday, there is something new to look forward to here. I could never have imagined that I would learn so many things."</b> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Business executive to gentleman cadet</b>

Cadets like him are becoming a reality at IMA today. Youngsters who have been selected in management institutes, qualified MBAs, hotel management graduates, call centre employees and government officers are now opting for a career in the armed forces. The numbers are small - only a handful among a group of 16 cadets spoken to had made a career change - and some may even say, insignificant, but they cannot be ignored. After all, it takes passion to pursue a path less travelled.

The winds of change are definitely welcome at the academy, which recently completed 75 years since inception. Set up in 1932, with the aim of establishing an ‘Indian Sandhurst', the academy has produced some real-life heroes, the most famous being Field Marshal Sam Maneckshaw.

From 40 gentleman cadets in 1932 to 1,700 now, from 200 acres then to 1,300 acres now - IMA has definitely come a long way. What has remained constant is the quality of training provided. <b>"At least 80% of our IMA officers are out in the field today. The type of training that we provide is incomparable. Even the demand to train cadets from other countries has been going up. Presently, we are training approximately 70 cadets from eight countries," says Lt Gen P K Rampal, commandant, IMA.</b>

But the fact is that as the economy booms, youngsters have been shying away from joining the defence services. Even IMA, according to recent media reports, has felt the crunch. Only 86 cadets joined for a course strength of 250 in 2007, said the reports.

<b>Numbers crunch</b>

Armed forces officials don't agree that it's a serious issue. While Lt Gen Rampal admits that this year the number of cadets has slightly fallen, he claims to be not really perturbed. "I was expecting the number of cadets joining in this batch to be over 1,800 but we got only 1,700. That doesn't worry us at all; we will make up the numbers next year," he says, confidence ringing through in his words. Such fluctuations do happen, he insists.

For bright-eyed Rahul Chandra, such reports have not been discouraging. A graduate in tourism and management, he preferred to join IMA instead. "Where else can you fire cannons?" he asks, a twinkle in his eyes. But on a serious note, it's his passion that's brought him here. Army officials wish that there were more such people who would think of a career in the army.

<b>Work hard, party harder</b>

"The best thing about the army is the quality of life it offers. I have seen people who work 12-13 hours and have no time for friends. Here, we work hard and party harder, and have time for friends always," observes another gentleman cadet.

The fear of death, too, hasn't deterred any of them. "At least, we would be dying for our country. What can be greater than that?" is the common sentiment.

As the golden winter sun bathes the stately Chetwode building in soft light, death is the last thing on the minds of the smartly uniformed gentleman cadets. After a gruelling day-long training session - part of their course - all they can think of is some fun and entertainment. Life has to be enjoyed, and no one knows this better than the fauji in the making.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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