December 12, 2010

Visit to NDA Khadakwasla

Sometime during the middle of this year (around May'10) I got a chance to visit the cradle of Indian Armed Forces, the National Defense Academy at Khadakwasla, Pune. This is the place where the future Army Generals, Air Chief Marshals and Navy Admirals undergo training and mentoring.

Getting into NDA

Getting admitted into NDA is a tough task as other than possessing mental aptitude and passing stringent physical fitness requirements, having the right kind of psychological and behavioral attitude (which is also known as OLQ - Officer Like Qualities) is a must.

The NDA Experience

NDA admits cadets, as they are generally called, right after senior secondary schooling. The years immediately after this stage in any student's life serve as the foundation for whole life. Training and mentoring the selected candidates in their formative years inculcates right values, alignment, bonding with fellow officers in making, pride in one's profession and above all the sense of duty towards one's motherland.

Integrated Training for Army, Air Force and Navy

Having cadets from all the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces - Army, Air Force and Navy - getting trained together is another distinctive feature of the training program at NDA. The key advantage this provides is an integrated approach to national defense program. All wars these days are necessarily a joint operation of the three wings of the Armed Forces. The combined training I am sure helps greatly in facilitating smooth operations by Indian Armed Forces in any war or war-like situations.

The NDA Campus

While I was there, I had a look at some parts of the NDA campus. It's big, well-maintained and amazingly stunning. I also saw the tanks from an enemy nation India has defeated many times in the past. Interestingly but befittingly, the turrets of the enemy battle tanks were pointing down, towards the ground!

The Sudan Bhawan

I saw the Sudan Bhawan which is named so to honor the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers in the Sudan theater during the East African Campaign. It was inaugurated by the then Ambassador of Sudan to India. Very interestingly and appropriately the word Sudan means supreme sacrifice. "Sudan" is a Hindi word also which literally speaking, means 'Good Charity' ( Su = Good, Dan = Charity). Sudan in this context means "Supreme Sacrifice". Those who pass out from NDA are taught to lay down their lives in the service and security of the nation - that's what supreme sacrifice means.

The NDA Feeling - Post the Visit

The time spent there was quality time. I came to learn about many things related to India's defense traditions and history. After coming out from there I felt a renewed sense of pride at being born in this great country - India.

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