Indian Military Academy (fondly abbreviated as IMA) is located in Dehradun and is the training academy for the officers of the Indian Army. It was established in 1932.
Historical Background of establishment:
Britishers, as a means to ensure that the Indian men in the military remain dominated by them, did not allow the Indians to become commissioned officers till the end of the first world war. The Indian soldiers proved their mettle through numerous bravados in the war, which led to the constitution of Montague-Chelmsford Reforms allowing 10 Indian officers to be trained at Sandhurst annually. To condition these soldiers for the training, the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (now known as the Rashtriya Indian Military College) was set up in Dehradun in 1922.
Over the years, the Indian political leadership pressed for the expansion of the Indian officer cadre in the army. This demand was also raised in the first-round table conference in 1930. Following 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.
In 1934, before the first batch had passed out, then Viceroy Lord Willingdon presented colours to the academy on behalf of George V.
The first batch of the academy, now termed as ‘the pioneers’ had the illustrious presence of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Muhammad Musa and Lieutenant General Smith Dun, who became the Army Chiefs of India, Pakistan, and Burma, respectively.
Following the Independence of India in August 1947, a number of trainers and cadets left for Britain and Pakistan.
The IMA 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’s first Republic Day. In December 1954, 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.
In 1960, the academy was renamed back to its founding name, as the Indian Military Academy.
In 1976, the four battalions of the IMA were renamed the Cariappa Battalion, Thimayya Battalion, Manekshaw Battalion and Bhagat Battalion with two companies each in honour of Field Marshal KM Cariappa, General KS Thimayya, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Lieutenant General PS Bhagat, respectively.
In 1977, the Army Cadet College (ACC) was moved from Pune to Dehradun as a wing of the IMA. In 2006, the ACC was merged into the IMA as its Siachen Battalion.
Details of IMA Campus:
IMA is located at the near Tons valley, at the foothills of Himalayas. The academy area is 1,400 acres and it is connected through NH 72, which runs between the north and south campuses.
Built in 1930, the Chetwode Hall on the Drill Square 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. Inaugurated in 1982, it has a seating capacity of over 2000.
In the earlier years, cadets were accommodated in GC Quarters, consisting of the Kingsley and Collins Blocks. With the growth of the IMA to five battalions of cadets, some battalions are accommodated in barracks in the South and East Campus.
The IMA helipad is located in the Tons Valley in the north-west of the campus.
The South Campus of the IMA includes Somnath Stadium and the Salaria Aquatic Centre. Other facilities on the South Campus include stables with a stud farm and a small arm shooting range.
The North Campus includes the Polo Ground along the Tons River. The Valley to the Northwest of the campus is bounded by the forks and bends of the Tons River. It is used for para-dropping and para-gliding, besides battle training.
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. The memorial was inaugurated by Field Marshal Manekshaw on 17 November 1999.
Cadet life at IMA:
A trainee on admission to the IMA is referred to as a Gentleman Cadet (GC).
Cadets undergo training at the IMA for one year. An exception is trainees selected via the Combined Defence Services Exam of UPSC. These cadets who are graduates of a non-military college undergo training for one and a half years.
Inscribed in the oak panelling 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 freshman GCs hail from diverse backgrounds with multifarious habits and grooming. The Academy plays a vital role in moulding those differences and helps them anchor into a common bonding. Doing things together bring a sense of fellow feeling.
From gruelling route-marches to photography, painting, seminars, term-papers, tours and sports, the training is an action-filled scenario nurturing their mental and physical potential. Each and every GC is allowed equal space for growth within the given time frame. The pace of training at the Academy is fast and intense.
Cadets of Indian Military Academy have proved their mettle through various conflicts and have essentially won laurels for their behaviour and incompetence. The dream to become an officer is realised in this academy as you come across with the most wonderful tradition of bravery, sacrifice and unfazed belief in the spirit of patriotism.
This academy has spawned so many great heroes that it is almost impossible to enlist all of them at once. Its alumnus has come out as exceptional leaders who have left a lasting legacy for the officers to follow.
If you have a chance, ability and the ambition, you must aim for this academy by clearing the examinations like CDS and NDA.
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