Ezhimala (Kerala), Nov 27: The Indian Naval Academy (INA) is gearing up to build infrastructure and capabilities to meet the increase in intake in the next five years with the Phase-II expansion plans going live.
The INA, a premier training establishment of Indian Navy, situated at Ezhimala in Kannur district of North Kerala's Malabar region, is on an expansion mode which will see the cadet strength eventually double in the Phase-III stage.
In an exclusive one-to-one with OneIndia, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, Commandant, INA, said that current shift in focus of training in the Indian Navy mandates an officer to be able to man, operate and maintain the gen-next assets.
"To fight the future wars at the sea, we want our officers to be equipped mentally, physically and technologically. At INA, we have been giving a huge stress on tech learning with the best of systems available for the cadets," says Vice Admiral Suresh who is being part of the Indian Navy for over 33 years.
Phase-II plans in full swing
He said with the Phase-II plans taking-off, the INA will have smart classrooms and more state-of-the-art simulators enabling the cadets to have greater exposure to new-age technologies.
"My mission is to make INA on par with the IITs and IIMs of India," says Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2014.
Attracting the best talent
With the Services hit by the shortage of officers for some time now, the Indian Navy has given the mandate to INA to recruit the best talent available in the country. With The naval assets creasing by the year and over 40 ships under construction at various shipyards in the country, Navy wants the INA to gear up for the future demands.
"We have definitely stepped up our induction programmes to cater to the increasing needs," Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar said. When asked about the challenges of training new generation cadets, he said: "They are definitely tech-savvy. If we find any strange behavioural patterns, we fall back on the SSB psychological parameters already mapped and documented."
The INA has already inked many MoUs with the IITs, IISc and other leading educational institutions in the country. According to Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, the INA is already in sync with the best training practices in the country. "We have set very high quality bar for training and as we move ahead, we are confident of the INA becoming one of the best in the world," he added.
Huge demand from foreign navies
With the Indian Navy's leadership and training skills on par with some of the best navies of the world, the INA will soon open its doors for training cadets from friendly nations.
Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar confirmed to OneIndia that the first batch of foreign cadets will join the INA during the Spring Term 2015, set to begin in coming January. "We have seven cadets cleared for training with us," he said. Four cadets are from Mauritius, two are from Sri Lanka and one from Maldives.
Training ships likely to be part of INA in future
In future, the INA plans to have training ships under its command. To be berthed at the Ettikulam bay, these ships will be used by the cadets for undertaking on board training. The ships, currently under various stages of development, will be harboured at a new jetty being proposed at the Ettikulam bay. Once these ships join the party, then the INA will be on par with the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consulting Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake)