From June, the hallowed portals of the country’s premier tri-service training institute, the National Defence Academy (NDA) located in Khadakvasla, Pune, will open its doors to welcome the first batch of 19 girl cadets, an official said here on Tuesday.
The NDA is fully geared up for the unprecedented ‘culture change’, which will see more girls joining the armed forces in the future.
As per the current plans, girls aged between 16-and-a-half and 19 shall be admitted for the first course starting June, with 10 seats allotted for the Indian Army, six for Indian Air Force and three for Indian Navy.
Akin to their male counterparts, the female cadets will be required to clear the UPSC-NDA written exam, Services Selection Board interviews and medicals before they can join the rigorous three-year training at the NDA.
Sprawled across over 7,000 acres of land in Khadakvasla, the NDA plans to make “minimum changes to the existing curriculum, and the training in academics, drill, outdoor training etc. will be conducted in an absolutely gender-neutral manner”.
However, owing to physiological differences between male and female cadets, the physical training aspect may undergo certain changes for the training of girl cadets at the 69-year-old institute.
“The training objective at the NDA shall continue to remain as a centre of excellence for producing military leaders equipped with professional, moral and physical attributes required for leading the troops to victory in the future battlefields,” said an official.
Simultaneously, the NDA will provide dedicated support staff for facilitating the training of girl cadets, though majority of training activities shall be conducted jointly keeping their employability in mind, wherein the women officers are required to command the troops of men.
Similar training methodology already exists in other pre-commissioning training academics like OTA Chennai, INA Ezhimala and AFA Hyderabad.
For the stay of the girl cadets, one of the squadrons has been identified and is being refurbished with amenities and requirements specific for their training, and preparations are on to augment the existing infrastructure.
Other necessary modifications shall also be undertaken to conform to the gender specific lifestyle requirements, but for the long term, a separate squadron is being envisaged exclusively for girl cadets, said the official.