National Defence Academy

The National Defence Academy is a Joint Services academy of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets of the three services, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are trained together before they go on to pre-commissioning training to their respective service academies. It is located in Khadakwasla near Pune, Maharashtra.

NDA alumni have led and fought in every major conflict in which the India Army has been called to action since the academy was established. The alumni include 3 Param Vir Chakra recipients and 9 Ashoka Chakra recipients.

In 1941, Lord Linlithgow, then Governor-General of India received a gift of a hundred thousand pounds 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 December 1946. The committee recommended the establishment of a Joint Services Military Academy, with training modeled on the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Sudan Block of the National Defence Academy

After the independence of India in August 1947, the Auchinleck Report was taken up by the Chiefs of Staff Committee in India, which immediately implemented the recommendations. The committee initiated an action plan in late 1947 to commission a permanent defence academy and began the search for a site to build the academy. They also decided to setup an interim training academy, known as the Joint Services Wing (JSW), which was commissioned on 1 January 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 a further two-year pre-commission training, while the Navy and Air Force cadets were sent to Dartmouth and Cranwell in the United Kingdom for further training.

Following the partition, India's share of the monetary gift received from Sudan, amounted to £ 70,000 (the remaining £ 30,000 of the gift went to Pakistan). The Indian Army decidd 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 October 1949. The National Defence Academy was formally commissioned on 7 December 1954, with an inauguration ceremony held on 16 January 1955.The JSW program was transferred from the AFA to the NDA.

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 erstwhile 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.Aptly, NDA is also located in the hunting grounds of the legendary Shivaji, with the Sinhagad Fort as a panoramic backdrop.
The Sudan Block and the Ashok Stambha at the National Defence Academy


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-storeyed basalt and granite structure constructed with Jodhpur red sandstone. It's 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.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.

Applicants to the NDA are selected via a written exam conducted by the UPSC, followed by extensive interviews 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 100,000 applicants appear for each written exam. Typically, about 10,000 of these are invited to interview. Applicants to join the Air Force also go through a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test. About 300-350 cadets are accepted to the academy each semester. About 40 cadets are accepted for the Air Force, 50 for the Navy and the remainder for the Army.
The "H" squadron dormitory at the National Defence Academy

Cadets who are accepted and successfully complete the program, are commissioned as officers in their respective Service. A cadet can only decline to accept the commission in case of a serious permanent medical condition caused during the program.Cadets who are expelled, resign or decline the commission may not be granted the degree and are required to reimburse the cost of education and training to the Ministry of Defence. This cost was estimated at INR 7075 per week in 2009.


All cadets who successfully complete the program are hereby commissioned as Officers in the Armed Forces. Hence, military leadership and training is an essential part of the curriculum.

Apart from academics, rigorous physical training is mandatory during all six semesters for cadets. Small Arms training is required. In addition, cadets opt for a range of outdoor activities including para gliding, rowing, sailing, fencing, horsemanship, martial arts, shooting, skiing, sky diving, rock climbing, etc.

National Defence Academy
Motto सेवा परमो धर्म:
Motto in English Service Before Self
Established 7 December 1954
Type Military Academy
Commandant Lieutenant General Jatinder Singh
Location Khadakwasla, Maharashtra, India
Campus 7,015 acres (28.39 km2)
Colors Maroon
Affiliations Jawaharlal Nehru University
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