The National Defence Academy (NDA) is the Joint Services academy of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets of the three services, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force train together before they go on to pre-commissioning training in their respective service academies. The NDA is located at Khadakwasla near Pune, Maharashtra. It is the first tri-service academy in the world.
NDA alumni have led and fought in every major conflict in which the Indian Armed Forces has been called to action since the academy was established. The alumni include 3 Param Vir Chakra recipients and 9 Ashoka Chakra recipients. National Defence Academy has produced 27 service Chiefs Of Staff till date. Current Chiefs Of Staff of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are all NDA alumni.
Here is everything you want to know about the prestigious institution:
- The National Defence Academy is an iconic institution, a global brand of excellence in the sphere of military education. Over the years it has emerged as a unique military academy, attracting the best of youth from our nation and also from friendly foreign countries and transforming them into officers and gentlemen.
- It’s motto is ‘Service Before Self’.
- The concept of the NDA was conceived at the conclusion of the Second World war when six years of fierce combat had emphatically underlined the need for ‘Jointness’ in modern warfare, as it was correctly believed that it is primarily the element of synergy which provides the significant asymmetric edge in a conflict situation.
- The National Defence Academy is located south-west Pune city and north-west of Khadakwasla Lake on 7015 acres of land. Pune was ultimately chosen after careful deliberation for its salubrious climatic conditions, suitability of terrain for military training, proximity to the Arabian sea, existence of an operational existence of a combined training center.
- Operation ‘Badli’ was the code name given to the great migration from Dehradun to Khadakwasla, Pune. The word Dehradun comes from the etymological root of “Dera-Drona” or the ‘Camp of Drona’. The shifting of the epicenter of this Academy from the historic Camp of Drona to Khadkwasla was not without its symbolism in military historical terms.
- In December 1954, when the new Joint Services training academy was established in Khadakwasla, near Pune, the NDA name along with the Joint Services Wing was transferred to Khadakwasla. The academy in Dehradun was then rechristened as Military College.
- The NDA offers only a full-time, residential undergraduate programme. Cadets are awarded a Baccalaureate degree (a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Technology) after 3 years of study. Cadets have a choice of two streams of study. The Science stream offers studies in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science. The Humanities (Liberal Arts) stream offers studies in History, Economics, Political Science, Geography and Languages.
- NDA has an excellent infrastructure for all-round training of cadets and a vast array of facilities like spacious and well-maintained classrooms, well-equipped labs, two Olympic size swimming pools, a gymnasium, 32 football fields, 2 polo grounds, a cricket stadium and a number of squash and tennis courts.
- The academic year is divided into two terms, viz. Spring (Jan. to May) and Autumn (July to Dec.). A cadet must undergo training for a total of six terms before graduating from the NDA.
- On reporting to the Academy, a cadet is allotted to one of the 18 Squadrons, which becomes his home-away-from-home for the next three years. The Squadrons are named as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hunter, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Panther, Quebec and Romeo. No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 Battalions have four squadrons each while No. 5 has 2 squadrons. Each squadron has approximately 100 to 120 cadets drawn from senior as well as junior courses under training in the Academy.
- Alumni of the academy have an illustrious record of numerous gallantry awards and achieving 33 alumni have been awarded the Kirti Chakra. 122 have been awarded the Shaurya Chakra.
- Capt GS Salaria, 2/Lt Arun Khetarpal, Capt Manoj Kumar Pandey are the recipients of PVC, all Posthumously.
- Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space is a proud alumnus of NDA and an Ashok Chakra awardee. Other Ashok Chakra awardees from NDA include Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Maj Mohit Sharma.
On a final note, I leave you with the NDA Honour code which will fill you with josh and will motivate you join NDA:
“I believe that a cadet must be loyal,
truthful, trustworthy, honest and
forthright under all circumstances.
I will not lie, cheat or steal, nor will I
mislead or deceive any one.
I undertake to faithfully live up to this
code and to continuously encourage
my comrades to do so”.