20 Interesting Facts About National Defence Academy, The Cradle That Nurses Braves

1. NDA is the first military academy in the world where three forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – of defence are trained together.

National Defence Academy

Aniruddha Rajandekar dna

2. It started functioning as Joint Services Wing (JSW) on Jan 1, 1949 at the Indian Military Academy (then known as Armed Forces Academy) in Dehradun before its inauguration as NDA on Jan 16, 1955. This ‘migration’ is known as Operation Badli.

Then and now


3. JSW was housed in barracks in which Italian prisoners of war were kept during World War II.


4. Money for the building of NDA came from a corpus donated by Sudan in 1941 in recognition of the sacrifices of Indian troops in the defence of Sudan during WWII. This is why the main building is called Sudan Block.



5. Khadakwasla was chosen as the site for the academy because of it being a lake shore, having a hilly terrain, proximity to the Arabian Sea, and other old military establishments such as an operational air base.

6. You may catch students running with heavy backpacks. Don’t mistake it to be a regular drill; it could just be a punishment.

7. The country’s first individual Olympics medal winner, Lt. Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is an alumnus of the NDA’s 77th Course. He had won Silver in shooting in the 2004 Olympics held at Athens.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

8. On January 11, 1949, the First Course, comprising of 190 cadets, started training. The Passing-out-Parade for 172 cadets was held on December 8, 1950.

Passing out Parade First Course

9. NDA was formed as an experiment to see if Indian youth from diverse backgrounds and beliefs could act together in unison after appropriate training for sufficient time.

Cadets practicing in NDA

10. Khaki is the dress colour of cadets. It was selected to establish an atmosphere of homogeneity.


11. Three NDA alumni have been honoured with the Param Vir Chakra, and nine others have received the Ashoka Chakra.

NDA PVC Winner

12. NDA 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.

Indian Army, Navy and Air Force chief

Pankaj Nangia/Daily Mail

13. Cadets are awarded a Baccalaureate degree (a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science) after three years of study.

NDA Passing out Parade

R.V. Moorthy/The Hindu

14. Over 700 cadets of 27 countries train alongside their Indian counterparts at the NDA.

Countries and Cadets


15. There are 18 squadrons in the NDA divided into five battalions.

NDA Batch

16. Twelve Indian states donated around Rs. 5 lakh each for the construction of as many squadron buildings. The buildings are named in their honour.

Oscar Squadron

17. The Hut of Remembrance, located within the NDA, was built by the cadets between January 1956 and May 1957 in the memory of the alumni who laid down their lives for the country.

18. It was decided in the 1950s to replace the English motto of ‘Service Before Self’ with a corresponding Sanskrit version. ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ thus became the new motto.


19. Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to fly into space, is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, which he joined as an IAF cadet in 1966.

First Indian to fly into space

20. The NDA has the distinction of being the alma mater of 271 brave martyrs of India.

passing out Parade


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