The children, who hail from Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir, are on an Army-sponsored four-day tour of Hyderabad

Sorting them height-wise, the students were made to stand in a line. Their specially tailored bright uniforms, caps and overalls were adjusted with thorough precision.

The Army personnel were so meticulous that they took over 15 minutes to make everything look picture perfect for a group photograph at the Mehdipatnam Garrison here on Friday. The 23 students and two teachers from Akhnoor town, Jammu and Kashmir, who were part of the Army’s ‘Operation Sadbhavana’ tour, were clearly impressed by the soldiers’ attention to details.

Many of them were inspired and wanted to join the Army. “I will definitely join the Army when I grow up,” said Class 8 student Rinku Kumar. As part of the tour, which aims to facilitate “an exposure to the rich cultural diversity and varied traditions of other parts of the country and progress achieved under conditions of peace and stability”, the students were on a four-day tour of Hyderabad. They visited a host of places including Salarjung Museum, Charminar, Golconda Fort, the Hussainsagar lake and other prominent tourist locations.

“We were also taught about the historical importance of the monuments we visited,” said the students who got the opportunity for a helicopter ride at the Hakimpet Air Force Base and a chance to visit the Artillery Centre too. The contingent is also expected to meet Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and also visit Ramoji Film City (RFC) as part of their tour.

“It’s a good initiative taken by the Indian Army. This is for the first time so many students have travelled out of their villages. The exposure through such tours is immense,” said Ramesh Kumar Sharma, a teacher accompanying the group. Major Varun Vaidya of 4/9 Gorkha Rifles, which organised the educational tour, said such visits would help youngsters in J&K learn about development in other places of the country.

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