The National Defence Academy (NDA) has the unique distinction of being the first institution in the world to impart joint training to officer cadets of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The concept and genesis of NDA dates back to the period before Independence and evolved from the lessons learnt from World War II.
One of the major lessons learnt during the World War II was that the three Services had to be fully integrated and functional as a single strike force in order to be effective in war. Although mooted by senior British military leaders like Lord Mountbatten and Field Marshal Auchinleck, India’s far-sighted and visionary political leadership of that period gave its full support to the establishment of a tri-service training facility. Consequently, the Government of India appointed a high-powered committee in May 1945 to prepare a scheme for the establishment of a Military Academy, incorporating the best practices of all such institutions world-wide to conduct joint training of the future officers for the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Based on the report submitted by this committee in 1946, the Indian Military Academy located at Dehradun was re-named as the Armed Forces Academy, and split into two wings: the “Inter-Services Wing” (later known as Joint Services Wing) and the “Military Wing”. It was Inter-Services Wing where combined training for the three Services commenced in January 1949. This was subsequently re-located from Dehradun to Khadakwasla and known as the National Defence Academy.
After an extended country-wide reconnaissance for a site, which would provide adequate space and potential for creating training facilities for all the three Services, Khadakwasla was chosen as the new home for the Inter-Services Wing in 1947. The location had till then been used as a Combined Warfare School for allied troops and was therefore suitable for the purpose. The foundation stone of NDA was laid at Khadakwasla by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 06 October 1949 and the herculean task of shifting this institution from Dehradun to Khadakwasla was successfully performed under the able supervision of the then Commandant, Maj Gen E Habibullah. NDA was formally inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Bombay, Shri Morarji Desai on 16 January 1955. The first Passing Out Parade held at NDA Khadakwasla was reviewed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 05 June 1955.
The NDA in its various forms has completed sixty years of eventful service to the nation in January 2009. This institution is proud of having produced more than 34,300 officers for the Indian Armed Forces and 880 officers for friendly foreign countries. These officers have imbibed academic and military training of the highest standards in a unique inter-services ambiance. NDA is also proud that its alumni have been awarded the nation’s highest awards for gallantry and distinguished service, both in peace and war. We cherish with pride the Roll of honour of so many other former NDA cadets who have laid down their lives in battle to uphold the safety and integrity of our country. The NDA has also the distinction of 35 of its alumnus reaching the pinnacle of military achievement by becoming Chiefs of their respective Services are as under:-
(a) Army – 12
(b) Navy – 11
(c) Air Force – 12
Gallantry Awards Received by NDA Alumni
|Param Vir Chakra (PVC) – 03||Kirti Chakra (KC) – 44|
|Ashok Chakra (AC) – 12||Vir Chakra (Vr C) – 162|
|Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) – 30||Shaurya Chakra (SC) – 152|
In addition to the military training, NDA also imparts intensive education in Science, Military Technology, Arts, and Military subjects to the cadets. At the end of their training, the cadets receive a degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. While a young cadet is being prepared intellectually to face the forthcoming challenges of the advanced weapon system in the future battle-field, he is also physically and mentally being toughened by a rigorous regimen of physical conditioning which includes calisthenics, drill, swimming, horse-riding, and the full gamut of sporting activities. At the same time, his horizons are expanded by exposure to various cultural activities, as well as hobby and adventure clubs.
As we have stepped into the new millennium, we are confident that the finest amongst Indian youth will continue to pass out from the portals of this iconic institution for the service of the nation, and living up to the Academy’s motto ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ or ‘Service Before Self’.
The Academy insignia of 1948 depicts the joint services character and was
designed to develop and foster inter services camaraderie. The insignia underwent various changes between1949-1956. The present insignia depicts the crest comprising of symbols representing the three services; the Cross swords, the Anchor and the Himalayan Eagle surmounted by the Ashoka emblem on a maroon background. The symbols represent the Army’s martial valour, stability and poise of the Navy and the aspirations of the Air Force to touch the sky with glory. The Ashoka emblem is symbolic of the new Republic and depicts the pride in serving the motherland. The scroll at the base epitomises the ideal of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ or ‘Service Before Self’ which is the essence of the concept of ‘Nishkaam Karma’ as derived from the Bhagavad Gita.
At the Academy, cadets belonging to the three services live and train together. This ensures that the future officers of the three services develop camaraderie and understand the organisation, capabilities and limitations of the other services apart from their own. Training is focused to teach cadets of all three services to operate as an integrated fighting force.
A major portion of the curriculum is conducted in the academic class rooms. The academic syllabus is so formulated that it is an integrated one, designed to meet the specific requirements of the Armed Forces. Cadets are taught a large number of subjects of Science, Computer Science and Social Science. The aim is to provide broad based education to widen horizons and make them capable of understanding and tackling problems that may confront them in their service careers. They are also given training in military science so that they understand the military technology in order to exploit the modern weapon-systems in the Armed Forces.
The Academy has a full-fledged Computer Science Department. Limited vacancies are available for the cadets to undergo B.Sc with Computer Science. These vacancies are allotted on the basis of a screening test held at the end of the first week of the commencement of the term.
Considerable emphasis is laid on outdoor and other extracurricular activities. The extensive facilities available for games and sports include two Olympic size swimming pools, a stadium, a well-equipped gymnasium, several squash and tennis courts, a golf course and a large for games and sports include two Olympic-size swimming pools, a stadium, a well-equipped gymnasium, several squash and tennis courts, a golf course and a large number of fields for hockey, football, cricket, basket-ball, polo and other games. The Khadakwasla Lake adjoining NDA provides excellent facilities for water sports throughout the year. The Academy has large number of horses, a wide inventory of water sports equipment including boats, and powered gliders for training the cadets. It also has an indoor shooting range for training the cadets in air rifle and air pistol shooting.
Spread over 6780 acres, the NDA has a salubrious climate with a mean temperature of 24.30 C, pollution free environment, elaborate infrastructure and a wide variety of flora & fauna. The months of March to May are warm and monsoon is experienced from June to September. Winters are mild. Blankets/quilts are necessary during Dec to Feb.
The National Defence Academy is an iconic institution and hallmark of global 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. During the last six decades of its glorious existence, the National Defence Academy has grown both in grace and grandeur and from its portals have emerged ‘Leaders of Men’, who have demonstrated the essence of inter-services camaraderie and jointmanship thereby vindicating the faith and vision of its founding fathers. Apart from leaders of men, the alumni have proved to be great mountaineers, cosmonauts, sportsmen, researchers, creative writers, artists, corporate honchos and more recently, olympic champions. Their achievements are all pervading and showcased in every echelon of our Armed Forces and also in the civil society. The ‘Cradle’ has indeed rocked the nascent youth and groomed them into ‘Leaders’ who have lived up to its ethos: ‘Seva Paramo Dharma’ (Service Before Self).