Indian Army’s ‘techno warriors’ are a blend of a sharp mind that is updated with modern-day technology and are fully-trained in all military skills.
This is the modern-day officer that the army is looking up to for future leadership. They are suited for warfare that’s not restricted to bloody battles, but is being fought in various other domains like space and cyber.
On Saturday, 82 such officers got commissioned in the Indian Army at the Officers Training Academy in Gaya, Bihar.
These young men are not just tough soldiers ready to take on any challenge, but are also engineers in various fields. They are the new-age Indian Army officers geared up for the modern-day warfare.
“Today, conflicts are taking different dimensions. Shifting from overt to covert. It has moved to space, cyber, information and psychological warfare. These cadets will come out winners and be leaders in all these spheres,” said Lt Gen Sunil Srivastava, Commandant, Officers Training Academy, Gaya.
The Officers’ Training Academy in Gaya has been producing the new-age officers since 2011 under the Technical Entry Scheme.
Nearly 1300 officers have been commissioned since the academy was set up.
The cadets come to the academy after Class 12 and spend one year here getting military training. From here, they spend the next three years in army’s engineering colleges in Mhow, Pune and Secunderabad. After this, they come to OTA for their passing out parade.
After getting commissioned, they spend the last year getting specialised training in their respective colleges.
It’s not that these young cadets focused on gaining technical knowledge are any less capable when it comes to being hardened soldiers.
Their combat skills match the best in the business. And, when it comes to traditional warfare they are not lagging behind either — be it jungle warfare tactics or precision shooting skills.
That’s the reason why 35 per cent of them go in armed wings. It’s noteworthy that the toppers of this year will join infantry regiments.
There is also an entry for Special Commissioned Officers. These exceptional soldiers who could not become officers come to the academy. After a year’s training, they get their commission.
The army is pushing for officers to be tech-savvy keeping in mind future warfare. More and more officers are being trained in army’s colleges for technology and are being inducted in armed wings like infantry, artillery and armoured corps.
With focus on artificial intelligence in armed wings in the future, these officers are expected to play a key role in modern-day warfare.
Lt Gen Sunil Srivastava, the Commandant at OTA, explained the need for such officers. “Armies are changing their doctrines and transforming tactics. It will change intelligence gathering, surveillance, artificial intelligence, and a plethora of technology is required for it.”
The good feedback has prompted the army to attract more young minds who realise that the combination of a sharp mind well-trained at technology is the need for the future.
“In years to come, there won’t be only physical conflicts but more in the space of cyber and space. We will be trained for those challenges,” said Kurulkar Saket Rajendra, a young cadet in his second term at the academy.
Those passing out from the academy are aware of the future challenges ahead. Their skills will be crucial in years to come.
The cadets come from diverse backgrounds. The only thing common is to serve the nation.
As they pass out to become future leaders, it’s a big moment for the families. Some from humble backgrounds and others fighting all odds.
Gurpyar Sharma from Punjab, whose father was a havaldar in the Army, is one of the passing out cadets to become an officer. An academically bright student, he knew the technical entry into the army was his goal. “I got 95 percent in my Class 12 and I had other options, but I chose the technical entry scheme as it gave me the best of both worlds. I can be an engineer and a solider both.”
Kalin Malik, another cadet who will be part of the Signals Corp of the Army, said, “My mother always wanted me to be an officer. Army is the quickest way to become one.”
His mother is unable to express her emotions as she cannot hold back her tears. Kalin lost his father when he was 13. Today, his mother’s dream to see him in uniform has come true.