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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.
History

Sudan Block of the National Defence Academy
In 1941, Lord Linlithgow, then Viceroy of India received a gift of £100,000 from a grateful Sudanese Government towards building a war memorial in recognition of the sacrifices of Indian troops in the liberation of Sudan in the East African Campaign during World War II. At the end of the war, Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, then Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, drawing on experiences of the army during the war, led a committee to study various military academies around the world and submitted a report to the Government of India in Dec. 1946. The committee recommended the establishment of a Joint Services Military Academy, with training modelled on the United States Military Academy at West Point.[3]

After the independence of India in Aug. 1947, the Chiefs of Staff Committee immediately implemented the recommendations of the Auchinleck report. The committee initiated an action plan in late 1947 to commission a permanent defence academy and began the search for a suitable site. It also decided to set up an interim training academy, known as the Joint Services Wing (JSW), which was commissioned on 1 Jan. 1949 at the Armed Forces Academy (now known as the Indian Military Academy) in Dehradun. Initially, after two years of training at the JSW, Army cadets went on to the Military wing of the AFA for two years of further pre-commission training, while the Navy and Air Force cadets were sent to Dartmouth and Cranwell in the United Kingdom for further training.

Following partition, India's share of the monetary gift received from Sudan, amounted to £70,000 (the remaining £30,000 went to Pakistan). The Indian Army decided to use these funds to partly cover the cost of construction of the NDA. The foundation stone for the academy was laid by then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru on 6 Oct. 1949. The National Defence Academy was formally commissioned on 7 Dec. 1954, with an inauguration ceremony held on 16 Jan. 1955.[4] The JSW program was transferred from the IMA to the NDA.

Campus

The Sudan Block and the Ashok Stambha at the National Defence Academy

Shivaji memorial at the National Defence Academy[5] The 17th century Maratha warrior king is considered as the Father of Indian Navy.[6] [7]
The NDA campus is located about 17 km south-west of Pune city, north-west of Khadakwasla Lake. It spans 7,015 acres (28.39 km2) of the 8,022 acres (32.46 km2) donated by the Government of the former Bombay State. The site was chosen for being on a lake shore, the suitability of the neighboring hilly terrain, proximity to the Arabian Sea and other military establishments, an operational air base nearby at Lohegaon as well as the salubrious climate. The existence of an old combined-forces training centre and a disused mock landing ship, HMS Angostura, on the north bank of the Khadakwasla lake which had been used to train troops for amphibious landings, lent additional leverage for the selection of the site.[3] Aptly, NDA is also located in the hunting grounds of the legendary Shivaji, with the Sinhagad Fort as a panoramic backdrop.

The administrative headquarters of the NDA was named the Sudan Block, in honour of the sacrifices of Indian soldiers in the Sudan theatre during the East African Campaign. It was inaugurated by then Ambassador of Sudan to India, Rahmatullah Abdulla, on 30 May 1959. The building is a 3-storey basalt and granite structure constructed with Jodhpur red sandstone. Its architecture features an exterior design comprising a blend of arches, pillars and verandahs, topped by a dome. The foyer has white Italian marble flooring and panelling on the interior walls. On the walls of the foyer hang the portraits of NDA graduates who have been honored with the highest gallantry awards, the Param Vir Chakra or the Ashoka Chakra.

A number of war relics adorn the NDA campus, including legendary captured tanks and aircraft.[8] The Vyas Library offers an extensive collection of over 100,000 printed volumes, in addition to numerous electronic subscriptions and a number of periodicals and journals from around the world in at least 10 languages.

Admission

The "H" squadron (aka hunter sqdrn) dormitory at the National Defence Academy
Applicants to the NDA are selected via a written exam conducted by the UPSC, followed by extensive interviews by the SSB covering general aptitude, psychological testing, team skills as well as physical and social skills, along with medical tests. Incoming classes are accepted twice a year for semesters starting in July and January. About 4,50,000 applicants sit for each written exam. Typically, about 6,300 of these are invited to interview. Only unmarried male candidates are eligible for NDA & NA Examination. The minimum age should be 16 and half years and maximum age should be 19 and half years. Applicants to join the Air Force also go through a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test. About 320 cadets are accepted to the academy each semester. About 70 cadets are accepted for the Air Force, 42 for the Navy and 208 for the Army.

Cadets who are accepted and successfully complete the program are sent to their respective training academies for one year of training before granting of commission: army cadets go to IMA at Dehradun, Air Force cadets to AFA at Dundigal, Hyderabad, and naval cadets to INA, Ezhimala, Kerala. A cadet can only decline a commission in case of a serious permanent medical condition caused during the program.

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