Indian Navy plans to expand its training academy in Kerala to accommodate more than 2,500 cadets in the next decade.
While the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala has a capacity of 1,200 cadets at the moment, plans are afoot to increase the intake by more than 100% as the maritime force would be needing a large number of technically-skilled officers to manage a large fleet of ships and submarines.
“We are in the phase-II of the programme in which the capacity of the academy would be raised to 1,700 by 2020. Subsequently, we plan for the phase-III in which new facilities would be created to house another 1,000 cadets,” Vice Admiral Anil Chawla, Chief of Personnel at the Indian Navy told DH here.
The proposed third-phase of the expansion of the INA is yet to be approved by the Centre as the Navy now focuses on completing the phase-II.
With more than 130 ships and submarines in operation and 41 vessels under different stages of construction, Indian Navy is one of the world's largest maritime forces. It aims to become a 200 ship by Navy 2027, which would necessitates a large flow of manpower.
But as on January 1, 2017 the blue water force was short of 1,256 officers and 12,785 sailors. “Currently we are 12% short of officers, which we hope to make up when phase-II of the naval academy would be functional. But with addition of more platforms, our manpower requirement is set to increase,” Chawla said.
To cater to to the increasing need of technically qualified naval officers, INA will offer only B Tech courses for the cadets from June 2019 onwards. At the moment, the academy runs an M. Sc course also to cater to those who passed out from the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla with a B. Sc degree.
With the introduction of B Tech degree at the NDA last year, all future naval cadets – direct recruits at the INA or those coming via NDA – will receive a B Tech degree.
To address faculty shortage issues, the Union Public Service Commission fixed the norms to recruit civilian professors for the academy. While there are 47 posts of civilian professors at the INA, the Navy has so far found 20 odd engineering professors, who have been taken on contract to teach the budding officers.
A one-hour documentary on Asia's largest naval academy has now been made by the National Geographic, which would release the film on August 15.