The Academy is located on a sprawling campus of 637.65 acres, bifurcated by the River Adyar adjoi
ning the Chennai International and Domestic Airport, about 15 kms from Chennai Central Railway Station along the Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road. In its vicinity is the imposing prominence of the historic Saint Thomas Mount and its Roman Catholic Church that consecrates the memory of Saint Thomas, one of Jesus Christ's 12 Apostles, martyred on the Mount in 72 AD. The Cantonment dates back to the 18th Century when it was an important bastion of the Madras Presidency. The Mount was the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the Franco-British War on 07 February 1759. Subsequently the Cantonment was established in the area in December 1774. The earliest surviving construction the Officers Mess dates back to 1815.
The genesis of the OTA can be traced back to the Second World War, when the necessity of training selected Indians for commissioned ranks in the Army was felt. A total of seven Officers Training Schools were established in India during the period 1942-45. However these were closed down after the War. In the wake of the Chinese Aggression in October 1962, a National Emergency was declared and two Officers Training Schools were established - one at Madras and the other at Poona in January 1963 to provide Emergency Commissioned Officers to the IA. The School at Poona was closed down on 09 May 1964 while the one at Madras continued to function.
Inception And Growth
The OTS at Madras was set up in September 1962 and the first Emergency Commission (EC) Course with a complement of 442 young trainees commenced their training on 15 Jan 1963. Brig Ram Singh the first Commandant alongwith Shri C Subramaniam, the then Union Minister for Steel and Heavy Industries, formally inaugurated the OTS with an inspiring speech that has proved prophetic.
"I have no doubt that when History comes to be written, it will be said that our young men of today did not fail to rise to the occasion and they came forward in thousands for the defence of our great Nation."
The Emergency Commission Courses continued till April 1965 and EC-12 was the last course to pass out in Oct 1965 After 1965, OTS started training Gentlemen Cadets for Short Service Commission (SSC). The scheme also included SSC Course (Compulsory Liability Scheme) for Class I and II Gazetted Officers of the Central Government and Public Sector Undertakings. The scheme ended in 1968 when SSC Courses for Technical Arms and Services were introduced. In the 70's few essential infrastructural developments like the Swimming Pool, Auditorium, Science Block and Laboratories, Drill Square, Cadets' Mess, Weapon Training sheds were created to facilitate training. In spite of the acute shortage of accommodation and limited training facilities, OTS also successfully conducted Special List (SL) Officers Course Serial-1 in 1970 and Serial-2 in 1973-74.
NDA Wing at OTA
One of the highlights during 1975-76 was the opening of the NDA Wing at the OTS to train the overflow of successful NDA candidates for a Three Year Degree Course. An Expert Committee of Jawahar Lal Nehru University visited OTS to assess the suitability of the campus for running the course. Hectic activity preceded the induction of the 55th Regular Course into the OTS to build necessary infrastructure in conformity with the requirements laid down by JNU Expert Committee. This additional task was completed by July 1977.
Chennai: Permt Loc of OTA
Notwithstanding its est since 1962 the decision for OTA to be permanently located at Chennai was approved by the Government in 1999. Subsequently, the Key Location Plan of OTA was approved in 2000. Since then, infrastructure development of the Academy has gained pace. Concurrently the designed capacity was increased to 750 Officer Cadets from 500. The Cadets' Mess, Weapon Training facilities, Obstacle Training Course, Mechanical Laundry, Kote, Lecture Halls, Library, Cadets' living Accommodation, Auditorium, Phy Trg Sheds, Eqtn Area and Sports Fields have since been completed.
Upgrading Appointment of Comdt
In keeping with the incr in the str of Officer Cadets, change in curriculum and advent of technology, the appt of the Comdt was upgraded to Maj Gen in 1982 and Lt Gen in 2010.
OTS Re-Named as OTA
The much deserved approval for renaming Officers Training School as Officers Training Academy was received in 1988 on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of the Academy. This placed the Academy at par with Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
In 1987 the OTA Song 'Roshni' was composed by the combined efforts of Sub SP Gautam, Officer Cadets and Officers. It was subsequently given final shape by the then Commandant Maj Gen N Vishwanathan. Click here
OTA Warriors Pledge
In 2015 the OTA Warriors Pledge was introduced by the Comdt Lt Gen Bobby Mathews, AVSM**, VSM. This Pledge is invoked everyday by Officer Cadets before commencement of daily training. Click here
The coveted Presidential Colours were presented on 18 August 1990 by his Excellency Shri R Venkataraman, the then President of India. This honour recognises the contribution of OTA, Chennai in the defence of the Nation and inspires the newer generation to achieve greater laurels.
OTA Chennai celebrated its Golden Jubilee from Jan 2012 to Mar 2013. The ceremony was graced by Dr K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu on 16 Jan 2012. The Golden Jubilee Parade was held on 07 Mar 2013 and was reviewed by Lt Gen Surendra Nath, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, GOC-in-C ARTRAC and was attended by more than 500 Alumni of OTA and their family members. A commemorative stamp and a Photo Journal "The Golden Milestone" were also released. A Special OTA Movie was also released by Shri Shekhar Dutt, SM, then Governor of Chhattisgarh, who is also an alumnus of OTA, Chennai.
In 1992 OTA, Chennai became the first and only PCTA to train and Commission Lady Cadets in the Indian Army. So far, around 2000 Lady Cadets have already been commissioned into the Indian Army.
Short Service Commission (Women)
In August 2008 the training duration of Lady Cadets was upgraded and brought at par with their male counterparts with the introduction of Short Service Commission (Women) Course. The Passing Out Parade (POP) of the first SSC (Women) Course was presided over by her Excellency Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the then President of India.
Apart from training Indian Officer Cadets, the Academy also trains Officer Cadets from Friendly Foreign Countries as part of the Indian Technical and Educational Co-Operation (ITEC) Programme. Officer Cadets from countries like Sri Lanka, Uganda, Lesotho, Seychelles, Jamaica, Fiji, Tonga and Afghanistan have been trained at OTA. So far 294 Foreign Cadets have passed out of the Academy.
Officers Training Academy has the honour of hosting three Presidents for presenting Colours and as Reviewing Officers of the Passing out Parades at OTA.
His Excellency Shri R Venkatraman visited OTA in Aug 1990 and presented Coveted Colors to the Academy. Shri R Venkatraman was the first President to visit OTA, Chennai. This was a big breakthrough for OTA as it placed OTA at par with other Academies and recognised the contribution of OTA to the Indian Army
In Aug 2008, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil visited OTA as Reviewing Officer. The honourable President presided over the Passing out Parade of the first Short Service Commissioned (Women) Course that passed out in Mar 2009.
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Honourable President of India attended the recently held Passing out Parade as Reviewing Officer in Sep 16. During the visit the President visited various places at OTA Chennai and also paid homage to our Heroes in the Temple of Remembrance.
Formation. Officers Training Academy Alumni Association was formed in 2000 by the then Commandant, Maj Gen GH Israni, VSM.
Membership. At present there are 8935 members. Foreign Alumni are also being given Honorary Membership.
Regional Centres. Regional Centres have been established at Delhi (NCR), Chandigarh, Pune, Kolkata and Bhopal with elected Coordinators.
Activities. The major activities in a calendar year include the Annual Alumni General Body Meet in the month of Sep followed by Alumni Dinner and org of Reunion of Golden Jubilee and Silver Jubilee Courses.