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Friday, March 26, 2010

Edition 13: Where soldiers are Made

Where Soldiers Are Made
India is an independent and sovereign country. The soldiers, from all three branches of our military, are engaged in protecting this independence and sovereignity intact. The soldiers are trained specifically for the task and whole country takes pride on its martyrs.
City of Pune is fortunate to have National Defence Academy is its vicinity. The premier institute has contributed immensely in developing the character of soldiers and imparting them with the adequate, modern and exhaustive knowledge of warfare.
The History
The NDA came into existence coinciding with the independence of India. Empirical lessons from the World Wars dictated the need for a joint Services Academy to train future leaders for combined operations. The vision of Lord Mountbatten in consonance with the sustained impetus and groundwork provided by Field Marshal Sir Claude J Auchinlek, Command-in-Chief in India laid the conceptual foundation for a Joint Services Military Academy modeled on the lines of the US WestPoint.
In 1941, Lord Linlithgow, the then Viceroy of India had received a gift of a hundred thousand pounds from Sudanese Government for building a suitable war memorial in recognition of the sacrifices of the Indian troops in the liberation of Sudan during the World War II. A committee headed by Field Marshal Sir Claude J Auchinlek, after studying of Military academies around the world, submitted its recommendations to the Government in December 1946.
After independence of India in August 1947, this report was referred to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Their suggestion for the formation of an interim Junior Inter Services Wing at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun was then implemented. A simultaneous action plan to commission a permanent war academy at Khadakwasla, Pune was also commenced and the foundation stone was laid by the first Prime Minister of India, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru on October 6, 1949.
On January 1, 1949, the Armed Forces Academy having its Military wing, now called the Indian Military Academy and the Joint Services Wing were commissioned. After two years of training at the JSW, Army cadets went on to the Military wing for a further two-year pre-commission training. The Naval and the Air force cadets were sent to Dartmouth and Cranwell in UK for advanced training. On December 7, 1954, the interim process crystallised with the commissioning of the National Defence Academy.
Formal inauguration of the Academy took place on 16 January 1955.
Why Khadakwasla?
The National Defence Academy is located south-west of Pune City and north-west of Khadakwasla Lake on 7015 acres of land, out of the 8022 acres donated by the Government of the erstwhile Bombay State. The other suggested sites were Bombay (particularly Marve), Bangalore, Dehradun, Belgaum, Bhopal, Deolali, Jabalpur, Nasik, Puri, Secunderabad and Vizag.
Pune was ultimately chosen after careful deliberations for its salubrious climatic conditions, suitability of terrain for military training, proximity to the Arabian Sea, existence of an operational airfield at Lohegaon, vicinity of military establishments and the presence of a lake nearby.
The Sudan BlockOf all the buildings that grace the NDA, the Sudan Block is undeniably the most imposing and majestic. It has an exquisite exterior design comprising an artistic blend of arches, pillars and verandahs. A three storeyed basalt and granite structure constructed with Jodhpur red sandstone, the building is topped by a dome and the architecture is reminiscent of the grandeur and motifs of Mughal times. The foyer has Italian marble flooring and panelling gracing the interior walls. Heroic sons of the NDA, the bravest of the brave, eternally sequestered within frames of gold-rimmed portraits adorn these hallowed walls; a mute testimony of courage under fire and a source of unending inspiration.
The Sudan block is the nerve center of the NDA and houses the main administrative blocks in addition to the Departments of English, Hindi, History, Mathematics Foreign languages. Viewed aerially, the Sudan Block resembles a gun of massive proportions.
Flanked by the anchor shaped Vyas Library and the Habibullah Hall designed to resemble an aircraft; the trinity of buildings underscore the joint services ethos of the NDA.
The building is named after the African republic which gifted a hundred thousand pounds in 1941 for the construction of a suitable war memorial, in grateful recognition and commemoration of the gallantry and sacrifices of Indian troops in the defence of Sudan in WWII. After partition,India’s share which amounted to £ 70,000 was utilized for the construction of the NDA. The building was inaugurated by HE Rahmatullah Abdulla, Ambassador of Sudan on May 30, 1959.

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