A team of media personnel visited The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre and Junior Leaders Wing at Belgaum Military Station on 13 Jan 2015. On a one day tour, they were exposed to the rich culture, tradition and ethos of Indian Army and training establishment.
As part of the visit to The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre, they were briefed by Brig Santosh Kurup, SM**, the Commandant, The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre. The history of The Maratha Light Infantry dates back to 246 years during which the Maratha battalions participated in various wars & campaigns and earned many laurels for the nation. The media team visited the war memorial which has the inscription of names of Martyrs of the Regiment who sacrificed their life for the “Izzat of the Paltan & Nation.” The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre is the only Regimental Centre in the Indian Army which has participated in 1st World War and earned a Battle Honour & won 36 Gallantry Awards, the highest won by a battalion in a single battle to date.
The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre is the cradle of soldiering where the recruits who come from civilian background are subjected to rigorous combat training spread over nine months. At the end of the training, they emerge as physically fit, mentally robust soldiers, motivated and ready to take on any challenge while serving the Army and Nation. The media team was shown a glimpse of important training events. The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre has innovatively incorporated the latest technologies with the standard military training to prepare the young soldiers to cope with emerging conflict scenarios.
The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre has also been an important Joint Foreign Training Node with foreign armies. USA, UK, China, Mongolia and Maldives are some of the countries who train regularly at the Regimental Centre.
The troops of The Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre have been actively participating in various sports events at the National and International level. The Regimental Centre is also the nominated nodal centre for adventure sports activities to include White Water Rafting and Parasailing.
The Regimental Centre also conducts a “Pre Retirement” capsule for the soldiers proceeding on retirement to prepare them to adjust to life after retirement. With sustained efforts, many pensioners have been reimbursed with the dues out of pensions which were long outstanding due to change in policies. The well-established Placement Cell undertakes placement of soldiers in various jobs after their retirement. The Regimental Centre is in regular touch with its war widows and needy battle casualties, and assists them in all their endeavours.
The media team was given an insight of how one of the oldest well known Regiments of the Indian Army has been actively participating in Nation Building.The battalions of the Regiment have participated in all Major Wars, Internal Conflicts, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorist Operations, Aid to Civil Authority and Disaster Management.
Continuing with the visit, the media team also visited Headquarters Junior Leaders Wing. Maj Gen Rajbir Singh, VSM, Commander, Junior Leaders Wing briefed the media about modalities of training being imparted to Junior Leaders.
The Junior Leaders Wing, The Infantry School, Belgaum is one of the premier training establishments of Indian Army located at Belgaum, Karnataka. The institute is instrumental in training Young Officers, Non Commissioned Officers of Indian Army as well as personnel from Para Military Forces and Central Police Organisation of the country. The institute is also training Officers and soldiers from more than 16 Friendly Foreign Countries including the USA and the United Kingdom. The institute has thus carved a niche for itself by being a Global Centre of Excellence for small team Operations.
The Junior Leaders Wing primarily focuses on Tactical Training, Military drills and special skills like Navigation, Endurance, Survival, Unarmed Combat and Demolitions. The Commandos are stretched to their limits during the Commando Course. These activities are designed to put them under extreme physical and mental stress in a controlled environment so as to make them give their best under adverse circumstances. The Commando Course is considered as one of the toughest courses conducted across the world and works on the lines of the motto “The more you sweat in peace, less you bleed in war”.
Importance of handling and catching of snakes was also stressed upon during a demonstration on snake handling which included handling of various types of venomous and non-venomous snakes. There was also a demonstration on various techniques of Rock Craft training and on negotiation of various types of obstacles in Battle Obstacle Course area, thus giving an exposure to the toughness of training and importance of physical fitness required to make Commandos battle worthy.
The Commandos are put through a rigorous schedule during the course in Commando Wing and are made aware of their physical and mental thresholds. This elite institute trains approximately 1500 officers and men every year.
The Platoon Commanders Wing focus on training Junior Commissioned Officers & Non Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army, Friendly Foreign Countries, Para Military Forces and Central Police Organisations in the Platoon level tactics in war & peace thus empowering Junior Leaders to command their subunit in war & peace.
The institute has produced exemplary results in training Officers and Non Commissioned of Indian Army who have then gone on to win many a battle for the Motherland.
Belgaum is thus an important training hub for the Indian Army, housing two of its prestigious training establishments, which in turn, have, over the years formed an integral part of the existence, culture & heritage of the city.