Lt. Vishnu Peethambaran bags top honour at the IMA

It seems city lads have it in them to make it big in the forces.

Flying Officer C.S. Nandeep, a native of Kochi, fought the odds to bag the ‘Sword of Honour’ and the President’s Plaque for the best cadet at the Air Force Academy at Dindigul a few years ago.

The other day, Lieutenant Vishnu Peethambaran, a second-generation army officer from Ernakulam, achieved a similar feat when he won the ‘Sword of Honour’ for the best all-round cadet at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun. Nepal Army Chief General Gaurav Shamsher Jung Bhahadur Rana presented the award.

The victory was made sweeter by the fact that he has been drafted in to the 4 battalion of Sikh Light Infantry (4 Sikh Li, as it’s spoken about), the unit from which his father C. Peethambaran retired as a Colonel.

“4 Sikh Li is close to my heart, as I’ve moved about with it all my life. I’m thrilled about serving in the same unit as my father,” Lt Vishnu told The Hindu over telephone. Col (retd) Peethambaran says a young Vishnu did his schooling between Kozhikode and Ambala before joining the Sainik School at Kazhakkoottan, near Thiruvananthapuram, as a class VIII student. “He passed out from the school on completion of 12 standard as the School Cadet Captain and with 95 per cent marks,” says the former colonel, residing at Pazhamthottam near Kizhakkambalam.

A silver medallist in shuttle badminton and boxing, Lt Vishnu was also an avid debater in school. He enrolled at the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 2010 and came to IMA for the mandatory one-year course. While at NDA, he was handpicked to travel to Japan to take part in an international conference of student cadets on conflict resolution, which Lt Vishnu thinks was “an enriching experience”. At IMA, he was among the three students selected to be part of a cadet exchange programme with Singapore. “It was good to understand their training methodology and see ours in a new light.” The focus at NDA was on physical training, but at INA, we saw the army up-close, he says. Lt Vishnu’s mother Jayasree teaches yoga while his elder sister works for the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission at Solapur.

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