The National Defense Academy of India trains cadets of three services, the Army, the Navy as well as the Air Force, and is one of the most honored and professional military training academies in the world. Officially accredited on 7th December 1954, the National Defense Academy initiated on 16th Jan 1955 and became the first tri-service academy worldwide. It possesses an extensive and intense training regime to produce men of iron and the same is reflected from its remarkable alumni base which has talented 27 Chiefs Of Staff in India till date. And thus, it is worth discovering what goes in making the hardest and the most brilliant servicemen in the world.
Based in Pune, Maharashtra, the NDA training guide to ‘equip cadets with psychological, ethical and physical attributes’ worthy of leading soldiers to victory in ‘conventional, non-conventional and asymmetrical disputes’. Be it the scenario in Kashmir or the threat of Naxalism in the east, an NDA cadet is trained to safeguard the interests of the nation in the toughest of climates and against all difficulties.
A normal day in the life of an NDA cadet starts early morning between 0400 and 0600 hours with the muster fall-in (morning roll-call). The early morning training is referred to as physical fitness and includes an intense schedule of drills and PT. After that, an additional two hours of morning classes commence called as ODTS (outdoor training drills).
When a cadet is through the morning routine, he returns back to his squadron and rushes for the scholastic classes (bachelors in scientific researches) all within a matter of minutes. Any kind of indiscipline in terms of punctuality is strictly dealt with. The classes last till 1400 hours and an additional 45 minutes are given for lunch. There are no rest gaps in between and the cadet after that makes it to the PT classes or a sporting activity of his choice. This time in between 1500-1800 hours is scheduled for developing a spirit of ‘camaraderie and sportsmanship’. 1830-2030 hours are scheduled for researches after which dinner is served. The dinner makes way for another hour and a half of PT and games. Lights go out at 2215 hours and the cadets repeat the exact same cycle for three years in training.
This intense regimen is followed the day in and day out to inculcate the values of ‘service prior to self’ and only the best of men make it through the training course. In the 127th course at NDA (2011-2014 batch), nearly 40 cadets dropped out in between the training course because they couldn’t cope with the rigorous regimen at the academy. Not all men are suitable for serving the country at the highest levels and the National Defense Academy is a platform which just breeds the most effective.
Besides the specific training, the other components of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force are termed as service training. NDA conveys Physical Training as well as Equitation Training other than Drill which is one of the most loved and preferred modules in training. The modules are dynamic and usually, cadets are involved in competitions which may last for 40-60 km including long runbacks with battle loads while competing with other squadrons.
The training at the academy is extreme, hardcore and the cadet gets a chance to establish a self-disciplined lifestyle which helps in his personal and professional life. Every other day at the academy offers a different challenge to toughen up the following crop of servicemen. The transformation from boys to men ushers in a strong type of Indian army personnel equipped to safeguard the nation in the very best way feasible.