Where the Navy is Born
 An expanding navy, and infrastructural limitations plague the Indian Naval Academy

Ezhimala, Kerala: As one looks out from the large windows of Commandant, Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan’s office at the Indian Naval Academy (INA), the gigantic tricolour — 30ft x 20ft on a 107ft high flagpole — flutters in the foreground with the background fading away into the Arabian Sea. In between the flag and the sea lies the future of the Indian Navy, painstakingly being crafted with imagination and optimism by the Commandant and his equally enthusiastic team of teachers, trainers, friends, philosophers and guides.

Perhaps, unintentional, but the vastness of the view afforded by the tall windows symbolises, in a manner, the opening up of the space for the Indian Navy, in which it is growing at a furious pace in all domains, surface, sub-surface and aerial. Probably, reading the minds of the visitors, Commandant Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, who has been as articulate about the navy’s vision as he is passionate about its role, says, “I am happy to be here, primarily because we are not only turning cadets into officers, we are shaping the form Indian Navy is going to acquire in the future; because these young men and women in the next few decades will be instrumental in defining India’s maritime role and maybe strategy.”

Vice Admiral Chauhan’s office is located in what is called the academic main building complex or AMBC, which to the uninitiated sounds like embassy — a Freudian misunderstanding to be sure! The AMBC comprises the administrative wing called the Nalanda, housing the Commandant and his staff; two clusters of classrooms flanking Nalanda, called Aryabhatta and Bhaskara; a library, Panini and an auditorium Kautilya. Fanning out from the AMBC and leading up to the squadrons and the cadets’ Mess, Katari, are covered corridors, called links. The cadets use these links to move from their squadrons to the classrooms. The idea is that they should not be exposed to the elements while moving about as the Kerala monsoons are known to be pretty disruptive. In this respect, INA is an all-weather academy!

Where the Navy is born
Commadant INA reviewing the Passing Out Parade rehearsal

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