An Army team has inspected a facility in Meerut that could be a possible new location for the Army Training Command (ARTRAC), now in Shimla. The inspection of the land and buildings was carried out by a team of officers comprising representatives of the Western Command, Central Command and ARTRAC a few days ago. As reported by The Indian Express earlier, the Army Headquarters has been planning to shift ARTRAC out of Shimla to a more centrally located city, with better access to the National Capital region (NCR).
Sources informed that the Belvedere Complex in Meerut that houses certain offices of the Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) is one of the locations for the new command. The heritage building complex dates back to early 19th century and was with the defence accounts department since the British era. Other locations under consideration were Bangalore and Gaya. Out of these, Meerut is being actively considered as it has adequate infrastructure to house the Command.
The ARTRAC was moved from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh to Shimla in March 1993. It is housed in heritage buildings dating back to the British era that were used to house the Army Headquarters during summer months.
According to Army sources, ARTRAC had to be moved out due to its proposed amalgamation with the Directorate General of Military Training, which required more space. “The heritage buildings where the command is presently located cannot accommodate more staff,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.
The Army Training Command was raised in October 1991 in Mhow to deal dealing with concepts and doctrine development, training policies and institutional training. An officer-centric organisation, ARTRAC deals with the formulation and dissemination of concepts and doctrines of warfare in the fields of strategy, operational art, tactics, logistics, training and human resource development.
The Indian Army has had a substantial presence in Shimla since the time the town was established. However, it was in the 1860s that the hill station became the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army during summer.