RAISING OF THE MECHANISED INFANTRY REGIMENTAL CENTRE

The Raising

The plan of raising the Regimental Centre can be traced back to the Experts Committee Report of 1975. Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre was raised and co-located at Ahmednagar along with Armoured Corps Centre and School, on 2nd April 1979, at the erstwhile disused stud farm of Remount and Veterinary Corps. A total of 2179 acres land was acquired, including 689 acres of stud farm land East and West of Ahmednagar-Solapur Highway.

Organisation:

MIRC has three training battalions, Infantry Training Battalion, Composite Training Battalion and Driving and Maintenance Battalion which cater for recruit and technical trade training. Advanced technical and tactical training for all ranks is imparted at Mechanised Army Courses (MAC) Group.

Infantry Training Battalion:

Following the raising of the MIRC, the onerous task of training newly enrolled recruits into trained soldier was entrusted with Basic Training Wing. It comprised of twelve recruit companies from ‘ALPHA’ to ‘MIKE’. Maj RT Ralte from 5 Mechanised Infantry was the first Officer Commanding Basic Training. The Battalion was christened as Basic Infantry Training Battalion on 09 Aug 1985.

The Battalion, is designed to train 1100 recruits. The duration of recruit training is 36 weeks which includes 19 weeks of basic military training and 15 weeks of advanced military training and two weeks of counter terrorism training. The Infantry Training Battalion consists of six companies, a Headquarters Company and Battalion Headquarters.

Composite Training Battalion:

The technical trade training of young soldiers commenced at Technical Training Battalion on 22 January 1982. The Battalion was raised by Lt Col YR Vadivelu with one A Vehicle training and holding company each and one B Vehicle Training and holding company each. In 1987, after introduction of radio and gunnery trade training the Battalion was renamed as Infantry Combat Vehicles Training Battalion. On 19 May 1992, The Battalion was rechristened as Composite Training Battalion. In July1992 the Battalion raised under its fold the Mechanised Army Courses Wing.

Composite Training Battalion trains the young soldier in their technical trades of driver (24 weeks), gunner (14 weeks), operator and operator fire controller (15 weeks). The driver trade was further bifurcated in A and B Vehicle Driver trades in 2008.

Apart from young soldiers of the Regiment, the young soldiers of Brigade of Guards and all ranks of other arms (Conversion Courses) are also trained in these Battalions. Having a designed capacity of 600 trainees, the Battalion performs the crucial role of literally “Mechanising” the young soldiers of the Regiment.

Driving and Maintenance Battalion:

In 1987, with the introduction of ‘B’ Vehicle Training the name of the Battalion was changed to ‘B’ Vehicle Training Battalion under Lt Col D Lahiri. It functioned under MIRC for a period up to 31 May 1992. Since training and holding of ‘B’ vehicles are inextricably interrelated, they were clubbed under one battalion on 1st June 1992, and rechristened as Driving and Maintenance Training Battalion under Lt Col J Vardhan.

Driving and Maintenance Battalion has a design capacity of 300 and train the B Vehicle trade for 24 weeks. The drivers are taught basic skills of driving on 2.5 ton and ALS vehicles. They have modern cut models, working models, driving simulators and an extensive B Vehicle track to practice drivers on basic training. They are also given practice in long driving training.

Mechanised Army Courses (MAC) Group:

Mechanised Army Courses Wing was raised under Composite Training Battalion in May 1992. Lt Col PR Bhatia was the first OC of MAC Wing. The Instructor courses commenced in July 1992. MAC Group is the Centre of Excellence for all tactical and technical aspects related to Mechanised Infantry. It conducts Army Courses for all ranks of Mechanised Infantry Regiment as also the Brigade of Guards. The officers and other ranks of friendly foreign countries also attend these courses of instruction. MAC Group has successfully carried out training of Bangladesh and Sri Lankan contingents on tenets of mobile warfare.

Administration and Depot Battalion:

The Battalion assists MIRC in smooth functioning of the Centre and is responsible for its administration and security. It is organized in three Companies viz. Administration, Duty and Depot Coy. The company took shape of Administration and Depot Battalion on its raising on 13 Sep 1985 on implementation of the new Peace Establishment of the MIRC. Maj VP Moorthy of 12 Mechanised Infantry was the first Officer commanding of the Administration Company.

The Battalion is the back bone of MIRC in terms of Administration and manpower support. It also provides support to the Boys Sports Company and the Boys Hostel. It also looks after the management and training of the Military Band, Jazz Band & Pipe Band. The Depot Company carries out all the discharge drills, assists in smooth transition phase and prepares them for post-retirement settlement.

Records, Mechanised Infantry Regiment:

Records MIR was raised along with the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre on 2nd April 1979 at Ahmednagar and The Records Office has an onerous task of communicating with 14 different Records Offices of Infantry Regiments with respect to transferring of documents and allied issues.

Mechanised Bhavan:

The foundation stone for the Centre Headquarters, also known as Mechanised Bhavan, was laid by Brig Pritam Singh, Commandant MIRC on 19th April 1993. As the need for a better, more modern building was felt the Bhavan commissioned. It was inaugurated by Lt Gen KL D’Souza, AVSM, DCOAS (T & C) and Colonel of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment on 17 June 1995.

Raising of 3 Armoured Delivery Regiment:

Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre was also mobilized for Operation Parakram in December 2001 with raising of 3 Armoured Delivery Regiment (ADR) on 28 December at Aundh Camp, Pune.

This ADR was raised for the first time in the annals of Indian Army. Col P Deb, Chief Instructor MIRC, mobilized men and material under the able guidance of the Commandant, Brig VK Verma. The crew had assembled from 37 different units and majority of officers had come on attachment from National Cadet Corps. The strength of the Regiment at its full preparedness stood at 17 officers, 26 Junior Commissioned Officers and 648 Other Ranks. They had the distinction of holding 110 Armoured Fighting Vehicles of all types. The Regiment proved its battle worthiness at Pokharan Field Firing Ranges by successfully conducting field firing prior to deployment in operational area.

This ad-hoc mobilization plan unit had, except colours, all the ingredients of a regular combat unit. OP PARAKRAM was called off during October 2002. 3 ADR, on successful completion of assigned task was de-inducted from operational area and finally demobilized on 04 May 2003.

Adhoc Station Headquarters, Darewadi

Since its inception MIRC functioned under Station Headquarters, Ahmednagar. Being located outside the Cantonment limit of Ahmednagar station MIRC was deprived of basic amenities. After sustained efforts adhoc Station Headquarters commenced its functioning in May 2017.

MECHANISED INFANTRY REGIMENTAL CENTRE INSTITUTIONS

Quarter Guard:

First Quarter Guard of MIRC was Guard was inaugurated by Gen K Sundarji, PVSM on 9thAugust 1979 during the first biennial conference.

After the sanction of KLP, the present Quarter Guard was conceptualised in half circular area with front wide platform. The new Quarter Guard was completed in 1986. The Quarter Guard has 18 internal rooms comprising of one display room, nine kotes, six lockups, one armour shop and one Guard room. At the front of Quarter Guard on right & left side there are two guns and two cannons have been laid out which symbolise the strength of soldiers.

Akhaura Drill Square:

New Drill Square was inaugurated by Lt Gen T S Oberoi, PVSM, VrC, GOC-in-C Southern Command on 1stDecember 1983. Akhaura Drill Square at MIRC was conceived by Gen K Sundarji, PVSM, the first Colonel of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment. The drill square is named after a town in Bangladesh, where 13th Battalion, The Mechanised Infantry Regiment (18 RAJPUT) fought the enemy continuously for 48 hours in one of the swiftest operations undertaken by the Indian Army for the liberation of East Pakistan and secured a decisive victory.

Military Brass Band:

The Military Band of the MIRC, Ahmednagar has enchanted its audience with exhilarating and melodious performances on numerous occasions. The Band was formed during April 1982 under the guidance of Brig Tilak Raj, the Second Commandant of the MIRC.

The band holds the distinct honour of performing at Army and Republic Day Parades, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Military World Game at Hyderabad, Common Wealth Games, Amar Jawan Jyoti, Passing out Parade, NDA Khadakwasla, International Fleet Review, Mumbai 2001, among others.

Regimental Museum:

To honour and preserve the legacy of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment the MIRC Museum was founded and inaugurated on the 9th February 2000 by Lt Gen Pankaj Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC then Colonel of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment. The Regimental museum is currently housed at ground floor of Mechanised Bhavan.

The museum houses the flag, regimental and centre history, the uniforms and mementos of the Colonels of the regiment, along with the details of the Commandants of MIRC since its raising. There is also a separate room for gallantry award winners and martyrs.

Para Gliding Node:

Army Adventure Nodal Centre (Paragliding), was established in April 1997 under the aegis of Army Adventure Wing (AAW) as part of the program for promoting adventure activities in the Army. The courses conducted by this node are the Basic Paragliding Course (BPC), Intermediate Paragliding Course (IPC) and Instructor of all arms and services. The node has trained over 900 Officers, JCO’s and OR who have participated in various Army, National and International events. The Node has also conducted two successful paragliding expeditions in the Maharashtra region, apart from participating in local aero shows and other ceremonial events.

Pankaj Joshi Gymnasium:

Lt Gen Pankaj Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM was commissioned in Dec 1962 in the First Battalion, the Eight Gorkha Rifles. He had actively participated in 1965 Indo Pak War and served in Sikkim, where he was wounded in a mine clearing operation in 1967.

Pankaj Joshi Gymnasium Hall foundation stone was laid by Brig Pritam Singh, the then Commandant, MIRC on 12 Aug 93 and was inaugurated by Maj Gen BA Cariappa, GOC MG & G Area on 15 September 1995. The Pankaj Joshi Hall is a modern, well equipped, State of the art indoor Training Gymnasium Hall cum indoor sports complex of MIRC. The sports facility caters for indoor physical training of recruits during bad weather.

Labh Singh Stadium:

Brig Labh Singh Sitara was commissioned in 1st JAT (LI). An inborn athlete, he was a national record holder in Triple Jump. He represented India in Tokyo Olympics in 1964. An officer with an illustrious career in national and international level sports he commanded 2nd Mechanised Infantry from 1981 to 1983. Brig Labh Singh Sitarawas awarded with the prestigious Dhyanchand Award by the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in the year 2004. He also participated in Asian games held at Bangkok in 1966 where he won a bronze medal in triple jump in and in 1970 when he became the only Indian athlete to win two medals; silver in triple jump and bronze in broad jump. The Labh Singh Stadium, located in the heart of MIR was named in honour of his legacy. It is a modern sports area with a Basketball Court and a Volleyball Court, along with an allaround amphitheatre style seating.

Haripal Stadium:

Lt Col Haripal Kaushik, VrC, Arjuna Awardee was commissioned in 1st Sikh regiment in the year 1959. He was a superb athlete and an exceptional Hockey player and rose through various services and national level hockey competitions to become the vice-captain of the ‘unbeatable’ Indian Olympic Hockey team in 1956 (Gold medal), 1960 (Silver medal) and 1964 (Gold medal).

He was awarded ‘Vir chakra’ for displaying exemplary courage and self-disregard, in the 1962 Indo-China war, when he led his company from the front in the face of the enemy. The Haripal stadium, raised in honour of the officer, is a lush-green and sprawling multipurpose sports field in MIRC. It has a standard Athletic track, field for conducting various athletics events, a Hockey and a Football ground, a multi-gym complex and a spectator’s seating all around.

Sundarji Officer’s Mess:

Initially on raising the Mess was housed in an EPIP tent.

Rajesh Adhikari Officer’s Mess (RAOM):

The Rajesh Adhikari Officer’s Mess, named after the gallant officer of 2nd Battalion the Mechanised Infantry Regiment is specially designed to cater to the needs of the student officers undergoing courses at the MAC Group, MIRC. The foundation stone of RAOM was laid under Brig V K Verma on 12 Aug 2003. The mess was fully ready and functional in 2005.The mess also has a cyber café, along witha fully equipped gymnasium, a pool table, a table tennis set, two well-furnished guest rooms – Ganga and Yamuna, andnot to mention the excellent staff.

D’Souza Theatre:

Project MICVEE (Construction of open air theatre) was started under the responsibility of Captain NK Acharya on 07 April 1980. Upon its renovation (which included adding the roof and a filament projector with big sound boxes) on 4th April 1986 it was renamed the “D’Souza Theatre,” in honour of Lt Gen K.L. D’Souza, PVSM, AVSM the then Colonel of the regiment.

The theatre in its present iterationfeatures a 5.1 Digital Dolby Sound System and DVD/CD based DLP Projection System. The seating arrangements have also been upgraded with perforated Iron chairs in lieu of old vintage iron benches. UFO Movies System with latest technology have now been installed. The D’Souza Theatre was renamed as ‘D’Souza Darbar Hall on 17 Jun 2011.

MIRC Greens:

MIRC launched a project called MIRC Green. In the first phase (1979 to 1993) 350.6 hectares of barren landscape was converted into green land with the assistance of Social Forestry Department of Ahmednagar, by planting 4.5 lakh trees.

The second phase which followed right after was launched on 29 July 1994 by Col Ram Singh, Honourable Union Minister of Wasteland Development.

For its sustained efforts, MIRC Green was awarded the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Purashkar for the year 1995. The award was presented by Shri TR Baalu, Union Minister of Environment and Forests to Brig Satish Chander, VSM, Commandant MIRC.

In 2005, MIRC Greens was short listed amongst various Governmental, Non-Governmental and Private Institutions in India for “Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) – Green Governance Award for the year 2006 for ‘Conservation of Flora’. The presentation of the award was carried out in Mumbai by Honorable Governor of Maharashtra, Mr S M Krishna on 22 March 2007.

MIRC Green with an artificial lake is a habitat of more than 1000 Black Bucks and variety of wildlife. It has an environmental training hall, a forest nursery and a Bio Diversity Park. It is one of the most successful wasteland development projects undertaken in India by the soldiers of MIRC.

Sarva Dharma Sthal (SDS):

The Sarva Dharma Sthal was conceptualized by Brig VS Verma and this multi faith place of worship has become a model to be emulated. The four walls of the SDS each represent one religion, while the exterior portions of the walls feature painting/sculptures of other religions.

Vocational Training Centre:

The Family Welfare Organisation (FWO), Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre (MIRC) has been actively involved in welfare activities targeted towards the enhancing and ameliorating the living standards of the families of serving and retired soldiers of the Regiment which is the hub centre of welfare and social activities for the families at MIRC. The idea is to empower families of all JCOs and OR; by providing skill based training for vocational jobs. The centre runs special courses for children of JCOs and OR posted at MIRC.

The MIRC is home to approximately 750 married JCOs and OR, from all the six battalions and minor units.

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