It was a pleasant surprise for Team Salute to receive a response from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) about publishing a special issue of this magazine on this premier training institution, which is a major landmark in the memories of many thousands of us who were
IMA has a unique history of beginning as an ‘Indian Sandhurst’ after the First World War (WW I, 1914 – 1918), in which the Indian Army performed brilliantly but at the cost of the lives of 74,187 all ranks. Besides these, many more were wounded, maimed and missing. The British needed to make up for the loss of Indian officers and further, in view of Indianisation, step up their intake to increase their strength.
That was just as well because seven years after raising IMA, came the outbreak of World War II (1939 – 1945), in which the strength of the Indian component amounted to almost 2.5 million, as compared to about 1.5 million in WW I. While again, the Indian Army distin- guished itself with valour and professionalism in this war, the value of Indian officers was fur- ther realized by the British.
Independence and the bloody Partition was followed by a war waged by the newly formed army of the newly formed Pakistan. Set in the Northern Himalayas, Indian Army redefined mountain warfare by not only fighting at alti- tudes up to at least 14,000 feet, but also moving tanks up there. The next war in 1962, waged by the Chinese, too, was in high altitude, but unfortunately even after fourteen years, with the same weapons, equipment, clothing and strength in numbers-all woefully inadequate. But that is another story we will not go into now.
Thanks to the Sino-India war, the Indian Army finally got a new rifle manufactured in India just in time for India’s third war in 1965, waged again by Pakistan. Some necessary weapon systems and equipments were pur- chased from erstwhile USSR, just in time before Pakistan yet again launched its third war against India in 1971.
Pakistan losing its third war against India along with its detached erstwhile Eastern part, Pakistan’s third dictator President decided on a major change of modus from conventional to the far cheaper option of proxy export of terror. This is the fourth Indo-Pak war which contin- ues till date.
Keeping pace with all these developments, IMA grew and expanded on the ground to maintain quality training of officer cadets to lead soldiers in all kinds of operations in any terrain. While soon after Independence IMA became an institution sought after by many friendly foreign countries to send their officer cadets for training, in the past couple of decades, it is even more so.
In this special issue, we have covered all essential and interesting aspects of training and conditioning at IMA that contribute towards transforming old boys into young men, who have, as seen in all wars and conflicts till the present, been leading from the front with much zest and courage. To bring out the wide extent of training and sports and outdoor activities, we have packed this issue with rele- vant photographs, often juxtaposing the old black and white or sepia with coloured ones of the greater part of the post Independence decades. We have tried to present the magazine in such a way that it can be enjoyed by not only readers in the armed forces, but also many all over the country down to school students.