Special cover released to mark 70th NDA Day

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 18 January 2019

"However, before the blueprint could be presented, India gained Independence and Field Marshal Auchinleck ceased to be the Commander-in-Chief of the undivided Indian Armed Forces." a press release said.

PUNE: A special cover was released by the National Defence Academy (NDA) Commandant and the Post Master General, Pune region, on the occasion of the 70th NDA Day on Wednesday. This was planned and implemented through the Army Philatelic Society.

“Six years of fierce combat during World War II had underlined the need for joint action in modern warfare and a synergy between the services to provide a significant edge in times of conflict. Prior to Independence, Lord Mountbatten and Lord Ismay - two of the most experienced military leaders of their time - formed a committee under the chairmanship of the Commander-in-Chief of India, Field Marshal Claude J Auchinleck and assigned it the task of examining the feasibility of establishing an institution for joint training of officers of the Indian Armed Forces. After research and several visits to foreign military training academies, a suitable concept of an Indian War Academy was evolved.

"However, before the blueprint could be presented, India gained Independence and Field Marshal Auchinleck ceased to be the Commander-in-Chief of the undivided Indian Armed Forces. The blueprint of the academy as envisaged by Field Marshal Sir Claude J Auchinleck remained in cold storage for about eight months before Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the then Deputy Prime Minister of India, sought the report and brought it back to life,” a press release said.

An alarming vacuum in the Officer Cadre demanded the immediate implementation of the report. So, it was referred to the Chiefs of Staff Committee, which suggested formation of an interim joint inter services wing at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, which was accepted. An action plan to commission a permanent National War Academy at Khadakwasla near Pune also began simultaneously.

On October 6, 1949, Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid its foundation stone. On January 1, 1949 the Indian Military Academy was rechristened as the Armed Forces Academy, comprising the military wing and the newly commissioned Joint Service Wing (JSW). On January 1, 1950, ahead of India becoming a Republic, the new National War Academy was renamed as the National Defence Academy (NDA).

The NDA was a pioneering concept, far ahead of its time. The Cadets underwent two years of initial training at the JSW, after which the Army Cadets went on to the Military Wing for a further two-year pre-commission training while the Naval and Air Force Cadets were sent to Dartmouth and Cranwell in the United Kingdom.

The Joint Services Wing was shifted to the present location at Khadakwasla and the National Defence Academy was inaugurated on January 16, 1955 by the then Chief Minister of Bombay State Morarji Desai.

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