Chiefs of army, navy, air force visit alma mater in Pune

In a rare development, the chiefs of Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force simultaneously paid a two-day visit to their alma mater, the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) here.

The trio, old batchmates who had completed their course in 1991 from the first NDA (erstwhile Joint Services Wing) course, spent Friday and Saturday at the sprawling institution in Khadakwasla, 30 years after they had embarked on their respective professional journeys.

The three distinguished alumni are: General M.M. Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, all highly-decorated officers holding the top posts since 2019.

Speaking on behalf of the three services chiefs, Admiral Karambir Singh exhorted the current cadets to imbibe the basic tenets of modern military leadership, and dwelt upon the emerging trends of modern warfare.

Turning out in full uniform, the trio also reviewed the ongoing training of cadets at the NDA and went around to view the available training and administrative infrastructure there.

The three services chiefs paid homage at the ‘Hut of Remembrance’, which commemorates the sacrifices of ex-NDA officers of the armed forces who laid their lives for the country.

They also visited their parent squadrons — ‘Hunter’ (Admiral Singh), and ‘Lima’ (Gen Naravane and Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria) — and interacted with the cadets of their respective squadrons.

Later, the NDA staff and faculty had an interaction with the three services chiefs, which was a rare and unique occasion, said the officials.

“Their visit to the Academy has provided unmatched inspiration and sense of pride to all the cadets and would further catalyse them to strive for excellence in their military careers and reinforce the spirit camaraderie and jointmanship among the three services,” said an official.

The idea of establishing a Joint Training Academy for training officers of the three defence services was conceived by a committee led by the then Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchintek, in 1945.

By January 1949, the academy started functioning at its interim location in Dehradun, even as the foundation stone for the NDA was laid by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on October 6, 1949, and it was inaugurated in January 1955 — making it the world’s first tri-services training institution.

In its nearly seven-decade-long glorious history, the NDA has produced the first Chief of Defence Staff, 13 Generals, 11 Admirals and nine Air Chief Marshals.