The Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, for the first time, on 07 November 2013.
The Royal Highness were given an impressive welcome at the main entrance to the Academy and led through the haloed portals of the iconic Chetwode Building to the Commandant’s Office, where The Royal Highnesses had a fruitful interaction with Lt Gen Manvender Singh and Mrs Ranjana Singh.
During the visit, the Prince of Wales witnessed live firing by the Gentlemen Cadets in the Close Quarter Battle Range followed by a lecture – demonstration which was part of the Academy’s ongoing training curriculum. The Duchess of Cornwall visited the Equitation Area, where she witnessed the training of Gentlemen Cadets.
The visit culminated at the grand premises of the Vikram Batra Mess where the Royal Highnesses interacted with the Gentlemen Cadets, the officers and staff of IMA and the Commandant and Cadets of the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) over tea.
The visiting dignitaries were visibly impressed by the impeccable layout, high standards and professionalism of the Indian Military Academy.
The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun was established in the year 1932. Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, after whom the main building and its central hall are named, inaugurated the Academy on 10 December 1932. The Chetwode adage echoes in every military establishment of India and beckons the officers to their duty. It says:-
“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.”
The schedule of training of the Academy is well planned and organised, grooming trainees as the future military leaders of the Indian Army. Physical Training, Drill, Weapon Training, Leadership Training and their practice are given the maximum thrust in the training curriculum. Since 1948, cadets from friendly foreign countries namely Angola, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen & Zambia are being sponsored by respective countries for training at IMA. In recent years, Gentlemen Cadets from Central Asian Republics like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have also been trained in this Academy. Some of these foreign alumni of the Academy have done exceptionally well. Gentleman Cadet YB Tun Hussain Bin Onn rose to the position of Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ibrahim Bin Ismail rose to the rank of General. Three Nepalese alumni namely Arjun Narsing Rana, Bharat Kesar Singh and Rishi Kumar Pandey rose to the rank of General in the Royal Nepalese Army.
Linkages between training academies of UK & India exist. In April 2007, two officers and nine cadets from Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst visited IMA, Dehradun. There has been a series of cadet exchange programmes since then. On 07 March 2012, Mr Christopher Roger Chetwode, the grandson of Field Marshal Philip Chetwode, who inaugurated IMA on 10 December 1932, visited IMA. On 04 May 2012, Prince Andrew visited the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.