36 foreigners among 186 passed out at Officers Training Academy – The New Indian Express

Express press service

CHENNAI: Up to 159 male and 63 female cadets graduated as officers in various arms and services of the Indian Army during the passing out ceremony at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai on Saturday. Two widows of fallen soldiers were also among the cadets who passed out on parade.

Harvey Kaur Kahlon,
a widow who is commissioned
as an army cadet.

For Harveen Kaur Kahlon, 28, from Punjab, life took an unexpected turn three years ago. She was a chemistry teacher at an international school in the state. She never imagined that she would join the OTA, separated from her child, leave the academy and serve the country. While she was five months pregnant, her husband who was serving in the artillery division died in June 2019 from cardiac arrest. He has not seen his son. “When I took the exam and put on the uniform, I remembered my husband. My parents and my in-laws have always supported me. The time spent away from my son, at the academy, has been difficult,” said Kaur Kahlon.

Likewise, 32-year-old Rigzin Chorol, who had graduated from the academy, was glued to her son. “We were away from each other for so long that surviving the hard and rigorous training seemed less difficult. When the helicopters shed flowers, I thought my husband would be proud of me,” said said Chorol, the first female officer in the Ladakh army. Her husband Rigzin Khandap died of cardiac arrest when her son was four months old. He was serving in the third battalion of the Ladakh Scout.

The passing out parade saw 186 Indian cadets and another 36 foreign graduating cadets will now be sent to serve their country. The foreign cadets included members from Bhutan, Maldives and Nigeria, of which 30 were from Bhutan, four from the Maldives and two from Nigeria.

The parade was reviewed by Lieutenant General Batoo Tshering, Chief of Operations of the Royal Bhutan Army. The Academy’s Honor Sword and Silver Medal was awarded to Mr Pavithra, an alumnus of Rashtriya Military School in Bangalore, for being an outstanding cadet. In one of its kind, three Cheetah and Chetak helicopters attached to the Indian Air Force were deployed in the parade to rain petals on the cadets.

Sisters at the Academy

While 23-year-old Shivani Tiwari completed her course at OTA and died from the academy, her younger sister Sumedha Tiwari is in the same academy as a freshman. They are the fourth generation of their family to wear a defense uniform. Their father serves in the navy.

Foreign cadets

For Sonam Yangchen, a 23-year-old science graduate from Bhutan, one of the first challenges was surviving Chennai’s weather conditions. Yangchen followed the path of his father, a retired army officer from the Royal Bhutan Army. She joined the OTA last December. “At first, the weather was unbearable, but as the days passed, I adapted. The training helped me understand what to expect,” Yangchen said. She is one of 30 cadets from Bhutan who will now return to join as lieutenants in the Royal Bhutan Army.

CHENNAI: Up to 159 male and 63 female cadets graduated as officers in various arms and services of the Indian Army during the passing out ceremony at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai on Saturday. Two widows of fallen soldiers were also among the cadets who passed out on parade. Harveen Kaur Kahlon, a widow appointed army cadet. For Harveen Kaur Kahlon, 28, from Punjab, life took an unexpected turn three years ago. She was a chemistry teacher at an international school in the state. She never imagined that she would join the OTA, separated from her child, leave the academy and serve the country. While she was five months pregnant, her husband who was serving in the artillery division died in June 2019 from cardiac arrest. He has not seen his son. “When I took the exam and put on the uniform, I remembered my husband. My parents and my in-laws have always supported me. The time spent away from my son, at the academy, has been tough,” Kaur Kahlon said. Likewise, Rigzin Chorol, 32, who had graduated from the academy, was glued to her son. “We’ve been away from each other for so long that surviving hard and rigorous training seemed less difficult. When the helicopters poured flowers, I thought my husband would be proud of me,” said Chorol, the first female officer in the Ladakh army. Her husband Rigzin Khandap died of cardiac arrest when her son was four months old. He served in the third battalion of the Ladakh Scout. The passing out parade saw 186 Indian cadets and another 36 foreign graduating cadets will now be sent to serve their country. The foreign cadets included members from Bhutan, Maldives and Nigeria, of which 30 were from Bhutan, four from the Maldives and two from Nigeria. The parade was reviewed by Lieutenant General Batoo Tshering, Chief of Operations of the Royal Bhutan Army. The Academy’s Honor Sword and Silver Medal was awarded to Mr Pavithra, an alumnus of Rashtriya Military School in Bangalore, for being an outstanding cadet. In one of its kind, three Cheetah and Chetak helicopters attached to the Indian Air Force were deployed in the parade to rain petals on the cadets. Sisters in academy While 23-year-old Shivani Tiwari completed her course at OTA and passed out from the academy, her younger sister Sumedha Tiwari is in the same academy as a freshman. They are the fourth generation of their family to wear a defense uniform. Their father serves in the navy. Foreign cadets For Sonam Yangchen, a 23-year-old science graduate from Bhutan, one of the first challenges was surviving Chennai’s weather conditions. Yangchen followed the path of his father, a retired army officer from the Royal Bhutan Army. She joined the OTA last December. “At first, the weather was unbearable, but as the days passed, I adapted. The training helped me understand what to expect,” Yangchen said. She is one of 30 cadets from Bhutan who will now return to join as lieutenants in the Royal Bhutan Army.

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