by Uday Kumar on November 13, 2011

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. 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 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 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. Campus 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 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.

After the passing out parade


Admission 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 320,000 applicants appear for each written exam. Typically, about 9,000 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 66 cadets are accepted for the Air Force, 39 for the Navy and 195 for the Army. 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.

passing out parade


The Administration and Academics Block- The Sudan Block

Academics The NDA offers only a full-time, residential undergraduate program. Cadets are awarded a Baccalaureate degree (a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science) 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. In both streams, academic studies are split into three categories of courses. In the Compulsory Course, cadets study English, Foreign Languages (Arabic, Chinese, French or Russian), Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, History, Political Science, Economics and Geography. Note that all cadets must take basic classes in all these subjects except Foreign Languages. Cadets then take advanced classes depending on their chosen stream. The Foundation Course is mandatory and comprises Military Studies and General Studies. Subjects such as Military History, Military Geography, Weapons systems and Armaments, etc are covered in Military Studies. Subjects such as Geopolitics, Human Rights, Laws of Armed Conflict and Environmental Sciences are covered in General Studies. The Optional Course focuses on subjects specific to the cadet’s chosen Service. Cadets spend the first four semesters on the Compulsory Courseand the Foundation Course. They take the Optional Course during the fifth and sixth semesters. They may transfer to other Service academies for the optional courses. Training Training Pattern All the cadets joining the NDA after their 10+2 Examination, are trained in the Academy for three years culminating into graduation in B.A/B.Sc. or B. Sc. (Computer Science) degree of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Apart from academic training they are also trained in outdoor skills, like Drill, PT and games. The emphasis in NDA is on character building, esprit-de-corps, mental and physical robustness, leadership and a sense of keen observation. NDA has an excellent infrastructure for all-round training of cadets and vast array of facilities like spacious and well maintained classrooms, well equipped labs, two Olympic size swimming pools, a Gymnasium, 32 football grounds, polo grounds, a cricket stadium and a number of squash and tennis courts. The academic year is divided into two terms, viz. Spring Term (January to May ) and Autumn Term (July to December). Here a cadet has to undergo training for a total of six terms before he passes out from NDA.

Small arms firing


Squadrons and Battalions On reporting to the Academy, a cadet is allotted to one of the 15 Squadrons, which then 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 and Oscar. No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 Battalions have four squadrons each while No. 4 has 3 squadrons. Each squadron has approximately 100 to 120 cadets drawn from senior as well as junior courses under training in the Academy. A squadron comprising a healthy and eclectic mixture of cadets from diverse backgrounds and varying abilities is a veritable melting pot, where the bonds of camaraderie are forged. The squadron spirit is inculcated and nurtured through the cadet’s stay. The prestigious Inter Squadron Championship Trophy awarded to the best squadron epitomizes the pinnacle of teamwork and team spirit. The champion squadron has the proud tradition of possession of the Champion banner for one term, which is carried during the parade and other sports meets. Each squadron has its own nickname, an individual identity with a richly textured history and mascot. The rudimentary import of the NDA’s motto “Service before Self” is first taught in the environs of the squadron, where a cadet learns the importance of putting the squadron’s requirements well above his own.

The Squadrons- Where the cadets stay

Twelve Indian states donated approximately Rs. 5,00,000 each for the construction of the various Squadrons. The following Squadron buildings have been named after the donor states :- ‘A’ – Madras & Andhra ‘B’ – Madhya Pradesh ‘C’ – Maharashtra ‘D’ – Bihar ‘E’ – Uttar Pradesh ‘F’ – Orissa ‘G’ – Gujarat ‘H’ – Karnataka ‘I’ – Punjab ‘J’ – West Bengal ‘K’ – Assam ‘L’ – Bombay

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

ankur November 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

i want to become pilot! any clue from any one please????


Kumar December 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Dear Ankur, if you want something and if you are clear about it, then sky is the limit!!!! There are so many ways to become a pilot…What pilot do you want to become..a fighter pilot, a commercial pilot flying airlines, a transport pilot, a helicopter pilot, etc etc

Balveer singh January 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I wanna be an officer in army.what should i do 4 this from just now


Kumar January 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Mr. Balveer what are you?????? are you a boy, man , child, etc etc????….. how can i guide you?????? plz try to help me inorder to help yourself

Sunny March 30, 2012 at 2:07 am

I wana know about the examinaions of nda what to do? wat to prerare? When it will held?


keshav yadav June 26, 2012 at 5:42 am

i m studying in 11 science with math.i want to join indian me about my preparation according to this about study, fitness,mental preparations.pls…..


Uday Kumar June 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Keshav, firstly study for your board exaqms well. Prepare for NDA written exam. The best way to prepare for NDA exam is to prepare using previous years question papers. Study for 30 mins every day seperately for NDA exam from now on. Once you clear the written exam you can prepare for SSB. Also if your score in PCM is good thenyou can try to 10+2 Tech entry in the Army. If your english is good and you are self confident then about a months time is enough for SSB preparation .In case you dont feel so, then you may buy our study materials now and go through it once in a week (every sunday for 2 hrs). So that your SSB preparation will also go side by side. But that is generally not required until you are not confident on yourself.


anmol sukhwal July 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Dear sir,
Right now i am in 12th std. with pcm and english as my subjects….from 6th std. my aim is to join army…nda is my aim ,dream…and everything…i am confident and i have all those OLQ’s which are required…but i am physically unfit my height is 5.6 ft…plz guide me..right now i should concentrate on 12th board exams or my physical…plz sir help me out to make my dreams come true…!!!


uday July 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Anmol, who said you are unfit? Under what grounds do you say that you are physically unfit?? Do not worry about it now! It is the time to prepare for your written exams. Prepare well for your board exams now!!

GAUTAM DEORI July 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm

i wanna became a nda officer .so pls help me i m the stuent of class 11 in arts stream


Bishal Kumar Raha November 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Sir i’m in class 12 and i am aspiring to join the army through the NDA exam. i have heard that the SSB is quite tuff.. can u guide me in this??


uday1 December 5, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Dear Bishal, it is not so!! It is not that tough if you are well prepared , have some OLQ (Officer Like Qualities)and have adequate knowlwdge of your subjects

Bishal Kumar Raha December 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Thank you for your advice sir.. Sir your saying that i should have some OLQ, does that mean that i have to be very tactful and wise in how i answer my questions? The NDA Syllabus is quite vast and is it necessary to have depth in every subject and every minute detail?? Sir i’m a science student of class 12 having PCM , computer and english as my subjects.. and when u say OLQ it does mean that i have to keep eye contact with the person i’m speaking to and quite stern in how i reply.???


Bishal Kumar Raha December 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thank you for your advice sir.. Sir your saying that i should have some OLQ, does that mean that i have to be very tactful and wise in how i answer my questions? The NDA Syllabus is quite vast and is it necessary to have depth in every subject and every minute detail?? Sir i’m a science student of class 12 having PCM , computer and english as my subjects.. and when u say OLQ it does mean that i have to keep eye contact with the person i’m speaking to and quite stern in how i reply.???


Bishal Kumar Raha December 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Sir i have glasses and my power is -4.75 for both the eyes which is 6/6 , according to the NDA vision terms and you think i will be rejected due to this?? plz rply sir as i’m very much worried..


uday1 December 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Dear Bishal, yes it is a big problem

Bishal Kumar Raha December 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Sir the requirements for the visual standards is 6/6. that is the last requirement. above 6/6 it is not accepted, i guess… because this is what i read in the latest NDA notification. my visual standard is also 6/6. so do you think there is any chance for me??? I’m really worried a lot sir..


val June 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

f you want something and if you are clear about it, then sky is the limit!!!! There are so many ways to become a pilot…What pilot do you want to become..a fighter pilot, a commercial pilot flying airlines, a transport pilot, a helicopter pilot, etc etc


krishnapriya.s June 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

sir ….
sir really i want to join in National defence academy. and i have inspiration in air force


patel jasmin October 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

sir i want join indian army as a officer so sir plase tell me how to joining this event


Nishant tyagi January 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

sir i want to join this. so how to prepare to this job..
tell me. sir please


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