Virtual training for Tour of Duty (ToD), solution to Indian Army’s efficiency concerns?

Being in the Indian Army is considered to be one of the most glorious things that can happen to an individual in our country. To be donning that uniform every single day and going to work, is a matter of ultimate pride for the serving members. It is more than just about the pride, prestige and glory that comes with the name of the organisation, It is about the immense responsibility and accountability that comes as a part and parcel of the job.

What is Tour of Duty?

Very recently, the Indian Army announced its plan to introduce a model called “Tour of Duty” (ToD) which will enable civilians to join the force for a span of 3 years. If and when this scheme comes into play, 100 officers and 1000 other ranks will be inducted into the force for a term of three years. Now, as accommodating as it may sound to the civilian population, it also happens to raise a lot of questions on the part of the Army’s efficiency. To be able to understand what those are, one first needs to know about the usual induction practices undertaken by the Indian Army.

Indian Army’s Induction Procedures

Currently, a soldier commissioned to the Indian Army under the Short Service Commission (SSC) program which allows one to serve for 10 years excluding an extension period of 4 years needs to go through a rigorous training module ranging somewhere between 1 to 4 years, depending upon the academy one is assigned to. 

How does ToD raise a question about the efficiency of Indian Army?

Now, one needs to understand that the usual training practices cannot be adopted for the soldiers who will be inducted as per the said program as it will not be cost-efficient. Hence, as of now, the speculations suggest that the training program for these individuals will probably not exceed a duration of six months. Under such circumstances, it is going to be extremely difficult for instructors to impart the same amount of knowledge and training to these individuals when compared to others. Which further raises the question as to how efficient are these soldiers going to be on the field? Are they qualified enough to be deployed to sensitive regions of the country? Can we entrust them to maintain the nation’s security?

Is Virtual training for Tour of Duty the solution to this problem?

Along with the above mentioned questions, one more question that usually comes to one’s mind is “What is the solution?” 

One thing that comes to my mind is “Virtual Training Simulations” – including VR safety training, virtual induction program and a virtual weapon training simulator. Yes, it has never been used by the Indian Army and could prove to be one of the biggest experiments of this era. But, so is the Tour of Duty plan. In my opinion, to be able to get the desired result out of this program, the Indian Army needs to think out of the box to be able to execute everything seamlessly and in a more efficient way. In that case, virtual training for tour of duty might just do the trick. 

A lot of organisations are already using virtual induction to speed up the onboarding process for new employees. Even, NYPD seems to have a similar provision to train their new entrants as it not only speeds up the process but also saves a lot of man power that can be put to other significant areas of the job. Also, since these virtual training simulations are capable of tracking individual growths and being user specific, they allow an instructor to keep a close tab on the performance of an individual which further allows them to work on areas that need more attention. 
Here’s a snippet of the virtual training simulation of Saber 338 created by Xarpie Labs for SSS Defence. Please note, the VR training simulation is customisable as per specific weapons.

Virtual training for Tour of Duty


It is an unusual solution to this problem but is also one of the better ones. Virtual training is undoubtedly on the rise and is here to stay as the areas of implementation are only broadening with each passing day. Virtual training programs are slowly and steadily being picked up by various organisations and rightly so. Human resource processes are being made more efficient by technological solutions, leading to better results. Will Indian Army take that route, is yet to be known. But, we sincerely hope they do as it will set a very prominent precedent for the rest of the world and for other organisations of our country. 

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