Old cadets of OTA revisit their training campus

By S Vishnu Sharmaa Published on Jun 23, 2018 05:25 PM IST

Brigadier OPS Chauhan

Chennai: Officers Training Academy (OTA), the prestigious institution that trains officers for Indian Army was the centre of attraction today.

It was on 23 June 1968 that the cadets of fifth short service commission passed out of OTA and walked into serving various units of Indian Army. After a long gap it was today that they stepped into their alma mater.

There was something special about this batch, said Major General T K Kaul. The members of this batch not only excelled in military service but also went ahead to become top civil servants after completing their military service, reminds

Captain I Balaretna Singh

Kaul, who has the distinction of being the first short service officer to be bestowed Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

Captain A Nagarajan who retired in the rank of Chief Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu, Captain Nirmal Singh Hira, an IAS officer from Tamilnadu cadre who later on retired as secretary of Ministry of Petroleum are from our batch, he said.

K S Siva Kumar who rose to the rank of Lt Gen in the Army too is from our batch, he reminds.

Brigadier OPS Chauhan from Dehradun too has an emotional and family connectivity with OTA. "I am back at my alma mater after 50 years. It is the same place where his daughter Gitanjali Chauhan too got trained and joined Indian Army following his footsteps. She passed out in September 1999," he reminds.

Captain K Sashi Menon

For Captain I Balaretna Singh there was a sea difference in everything. The infrastructure during his time was something different. We used to stay in barracks which had common toilets for seniors and juniors, all that has changed now.

Accomodation has become better now, even the grounds have turned beautiful now with greenery. In those days lot of portions used to look like jungles, he says. But the best part was the training staff here.

"They were tough with us when it came to training, but the care they used to give us after we finished our daily training routine was worth cherishing. We used to return after completing our daily running, exercises, and training staff and their family members used to give us water. They used to wait for us."

Lt Gen K S Siva Kumar

Captain K Sashi Menon has seen action in his military career in Uri and Poonch sector in 1971 in Kashmir. The location we were in was being attacked from all directions, but it had to be defended..

We stood firm, victory came to us, he said reminding that what made us stood tough was the training that we got here. Had we given away, the enemy would have a direct access to our Brigade Head Quarters. Agreeing with this is Lt Gen K S Sivakumar.

"Training here (OTA) was always tough. And that is how it should be. The physical training for example was really very hard. But it is this toughness that makes one a good soldier," he reminded.