SUMIT BHATTACHARJEE

Be an Army man-Be a winner for life -- reads the caption at any recruiting office of the Indian Army. If winning is part of your aptitude then there can be no better place than the Indian Army, where able-bodied men are trained and groomed to be an officer and a gentleman. They are trained not just to be an officer, but a soldier’s soldier.

“This is the institution where you are trained to be the leader of men. This is where you are taught to imbibe the traits of brotherhood, patriotism, camaraderie, disciplined lifestyle, integrity and courage in your personality,” says Lt. Col. B.S. Virik of 14 Mechanised Infantry.

How to get in

People looking for a permanent commission as an officer in the army have basically got two entry points. The first is through the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the second is through the Indian Military Academy (IMA).

NDA

While still in the final year of 10+2, students from the MPC (mathematics, physics and chemistry) stream can attempt the NDA entrance examination, which is held twice a year in the months of April and September. The candidate should be between sixteen-and-a- half-year to nineteen. After clearing the entrance, one has to undergo the Service Selection Board interview, which lasts for five days. The SSB interview includes a number of tasks like group discussion, physical endurance test and group tasks. The last will be the medical test.

On successful completion of the three-year training in NDA at Khadakwasla, Pune, one is sent to the respective academies like IMA or Naval Academy or Air Force Academy for further training to join the desired arm of service.

IMA

Admissions can be taken in the final year of graduation, by clearing the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE). While gentleman cadets from NDA and technical (engineering) graduates have to undergo training for one year, others have to go through a training period of one-and-a-half years.

The CDSE is held twice a year during the months of February and august, and the maximum age limit is 24 years.

Technical entry

One can also apply after passing the 10+2 examination with at least 70 per cent aggregate in physics, chemistry and mathematics.

If the eligibility criteria are met then he will be sent for the SSB interview. The selected candidates will have to endure one-year basic military training in IMA.

This would be followed by a four-year degree course in engineering from College of Military Engineering, Pune, or Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, or College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Secunderabad.