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Army plans to reorganise training courses hit by pandemic, could shift many to next session

The Army conducts close to 600 courses for its personnel over the training year that begins on 1 July and ends on 30 June the following year.

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New Delhi: The Army has drawn up a fresh plan to reorganise all its training courses, a number of which have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, ThePrint has learnt. The service conducts close to 600 courses for its personnel over a training year that begins on 1 July and ends on 30 June the following year.

While the bulk of the courses are in progress and will conclude in the latter half of the current training year, about 90 courses have been shifted to the next one, according to the fresh plan.

Moreover, around 180 courses, which are comparatively of lesser priority, stand cancelled for the current training year.

An Army source told ThePrint that the courses, which have been shifted to the next training year, may be conducted either as additional courses or fit into vacant slots that may be created to cater to the backlog.

“The decision on this would be taken in June when the new training calendar for 2020-2021 is being finalised,” the source said.

Sources added that training at the unit level, which includes firing, will continue as before but with social distancing and other Covid-19 precautions.

However, other training activities for soldiers, such as field firing that includes firing of heavier calibre weapons, and exercises with troops in select firing ranges across the country, have been cancelled for now and will resume once the Covid-19 situation returns to normal.

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Training of fresh recruits to continue

According to the new schedule being planned, a second source said, only the training of fresh recruits at all regimental centres will continue, while all other training conducted at these centres will be cancelled.

Additionally, fresh training with foreign armies and other courses in foreign countries have been suspended until 1 September.

A senior Army officer told ThePrint that training is one of the most essential parts of a soldier’s routine and will have to continue despite any other challenges.

“As regards to courses, while the duration would be reduced at times, there would be no compromise on the content as additional working hours would be squeezed out every day,” the officer said.

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Passing Out Parades to be muted affairs

As part of the fresh plans, Passing Out Parades at officers’ training establishments — considered a landmark event in the Army’s training calendar — are also set to be muted affairs this year with the pandemic affecting the training of all ranks of the service.

The details of the ceremony will be approved by the Army Training Command (ARTRAC).

The parades are major biannual events at all officers’ training establishments, and conducted at a large scale and are attended by thousands. The event marks the culmination of the cadets’ training and their foray into their journey as officers.

Officers get commissioned from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Officers’ Training Academy, Gaya, and Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai. The commissioning ceremony is marked by a Passing Out Parade. Passing out Parades at IMA are held in June and December every year, while at OTA, Chennai it is held in March and September.

The event is also held at Cadet Training Wings in Pune, Mhow and Secunderabad.

However, there are no details available as of now, about the Passing out Parades at the National Defence Academy, which is a tri service institution.

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