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23 Jan 2021, Edition - 2020, Saturday

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Coimbatore

NCC Youth Exchange Program: A soul-stirring experience

Harsha V.H

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Chennai: For the last 68 years, the National Cadet Corps has trained around a million students as NCC cadets, some of whom have also got recruited into the Army, Navy and Air Force. It is noteworthy that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an NCC cadet in his school days.

The NCC at the state level is divided into 17 directorates, where each state or group of states forms a directorate. The smaller states and union territories are attached to directorates of bigger states. Each directorate is under the command of an officer equivalent to the rank of a Brigadier (being upgraded to the rank of Major General) or its equivalent from the other two services.

Every year the best cadets from each of the 17 directorates go to represent their directorate at the national and international levels. Of all the programs, the most sought after one is the Youth Exchange Program (YEP) which is a country to country exchange of cadets belonging to NCC or equivalent government/youth organizations of friendly countries. NCC has a vibrant YEP with ten countries.

This year Navneet Chandran from SRM University, 1 (TN) SIG COY NCC, MADRAS GROUP – A, represented the Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands Directorate. He was deputed as the Senior Cadet for YEP Kazakhstan 2016 (25 Sept – 8 Oct) under the guidance of Col. Babu Francis and Col. Manoj Kumar. The delegation comprised 12 cadets.

To become a part of this delegation, all the 12 cadets had to undergo rigorous training and compete with cadets from different districts which takes place in 12 different camps within a time span of 6 months.

After becoming the All India Best Cadet for TN, P & AN DTE (Top 17 in India), Navneet also stood third in the All India National Integration Awareness presentation and came second in the All India National Cancer Awareness Quiz at the Republic Day Camp. He was part of the Tamil Nadu contingent which marched in the Prime Minister’s rally which is observed by the PM, the Defence Minister, the three service chiefs and DGNCC.

Navneet shared his YEP experience with Covai Post:

“It was a moment of extreme joy to meet the other 11 cadets from different parts of our country. Our hearts rejoiced as we got our India tracks and the much-awaited combat dress, and we were officially wearing the tricolour on our uniforms… indeed, it was a proud and illustrious moment for us.

On reaching Almaty city in Kazakhstan, we were warmly greeted by officials from the Indian Embassy and by Kazakh delegates. Our stay in Almaty from 26 Sept – 30 Sept was an awesome experience. Our first visit was to Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University, where we met up the university rector. We visited World War II memorials and museums, and then we visited the Military Dept. where we were introduced to their training regimen. We were familiarised with their weapons such as AK-74s, Dragunov sniper rifles, BMP-1, BMP-2.

A football match was conducted between NCC India cadets and cadets of the Kazakh military. We had the opportunity of interacting with the students and locals several times. A concert was organised by the university where we presented our cultural panorama and the Kazakhs enthralled us with their performance. It was surprising to note the amount of interest both the Kazakhs and we share when it came to Bollywood.

The whole journey was a soul-stirring experience. We made bonds, memories and more importantly we fostered friendship. We learnt a lot, got a wider perspective about life and our world. And most of all we had the privilege of calling ourselves Team India.”

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