An Indian Navy officer works and fights on sea. He plays a vital part in the complex system that manages a warship and also uses the ship as an instrument of tactical warfare. An officer is trained in specialisations like anti-submarine warfare, navigation, communications, gunnery, logistics, diving and hydrography. One could also opt for the aviation or submarine arm. There are some ancillary branches where an officer works as an electrical engineer, legal officer or naval architect
What do they do?
Commander Abhijit V Joshi, an Indian Navy officer, loves scuba-diving and skydiving. He also revels in the thrill of commanding a naval ship in adverse weather conditions.
He shares a strong bond with the crew members of his ship, many of whom have become his friends for life. As the commanding officer, Joshi takes the entire responsibility of the ship. Besides navigation, he also manages logistic support and technical details. The best part? The job leaves him wanting more.
After 19 years in the Navy, this officer still finds enough adrenaline rush in the job to satisfy his “never-ending” appetite for thrill. “We are trained to manage, motivate and lead the crew on-board state-of-the-art warships. As we face difficult situations (together), a strong bond of comradeship forms with our fellow officers and also with the sailors whom we command,” says Joshi.
The primary responsibility of Indian Navy officers is to protect the Indian seas from foreign intrusions. In peace times, they do mock drills, carry out anti-piracy operations and monitor international trade through water channels. “We are also deployed on shore to provide relief in case of a calamity (in India or a neighbouring country),” adds Joshi.
The job has formidable challenges, as the sea never remains the same — weather gods can spell disaster anytime. Then, everyday resources must be stretched to their limit.
“At times, four people share one bucket of water in a day. You have to be always ready for all kinds of hardships and compromises,” says Commander PVS Satish, Navy spokesperson.
Those who become executive (non-technical) officers in the Navy can rise to the level of commanding officer, while others perform roles in technical areas, logistics and education that are also important. Women can only join in short-service commission.
The existing design of the ships do not offer the necessary facilities for women to live on-board for long duration, so they are not posted on the ships. “A time shall come when women will serve on ships,” says Rear Admiral Ajit Kumar P. “We undergo the same training that men do and, according to me, working in logistics is also satisfying, as we provide the essentials to make a ship sail,” says Lieutenant Radha Singh. Though the women do not sail, they “spend some time on the ship to become familiar with the seas”.
Singh is an infotech engineer and joined the Navy after getting her BE degree from Rajiv Gandhi Technical University. She had other job opportunities but chose the Navy over a corporate job “for the draws”. She explains, “Here, I do mountaineering and participate in marathons, along with handling my usual infotech functions.”
Besides working on a ship or on shore, an officer in the Indian Navy flies an aircraft, too, if he is in the aviation wing. Pilot training is first given by the Air Force and then by the Naval Academy.
These pilots have to learn to land planes on warships that function as aircraft carriers.
Those who join the aviation wing, the submarine cadre or the marcos (marine commandos) cadre, get a higher allowance — Rs 4,000-9,000 extra per month — for their hardships. A submarine officer has to survive on less than a small mug of water for the entire day, while officers in other cadres like technical, instructional and sea-going have the facilities to convert sea water into potable water. Though the thrills and perks are many, around one-third of all the positions in the officer cadre are vacant — the selection criteria are so stringent that very few people make it past the final stage. In February this year, a youth hunt named ‘Mission Navy’ was launched to pick just five young Indians who would be entitled to spend a few days on a Navy ship.
This drew 50,000 aspirants and Chaitanya Datla came out on top. She says, “Though I spent only one month (on board), the time was memorable. I broke through all my limitations.” The management graduate was offered a job in logistics, but chose to work with TCS if she could not be on a ship. However, her stint fuelled a strong desire: “I wish I could also work with the Indian Navy.”
Source: HT Horizons
. Ability to withstand mental and physical stress
. Leadership qualities and clarity of thought
. A fighting spirit and firm determination
. An undying passion for the sea and ships
How do I get there?
Primarily, there are two entry points — the National Defence Academy (for 10+2) and the Combined Defence Services Examination (for graduates). In total, there are around 27 gateways through which you can be a Navy officer in one of the cadres — general service, submarine, engineering, logistics, law, aviation (pilot/observer), hydro, ATC (air traffic control) etc.
For all these entry gateways, you must have finished at least 10+2 with physics and maths, while PCM with 70 per cent is mandatory for the engineering branch (tech entry in permanent commission). If you are a postgraduate with more than 50 per cent marks, you can join the education branch. There are entry points for law graduates and commerce graduates also.
For all the above-mentioned openings, there are permanent and short-service commissions. Age limit for any entry point depends on the type of intake.
For more details, log on to www.nausena-bharti.nic.in
or call 011-23010151