The total cadet strength at the National Defence Academy (NDA) may be revised to 2,400 from the existing 2,100. The move may be significant in the backdrop of the shortage of about 13,000 officers across the three services of the Armed Forces.
In a detailed reply to a questionnaire sent by The Indian Express, the NDA said the “Peace Establishment of Service Personnel posted to NDA is revised to meet the requirement of training involved with the increase in cadets’ strength to 2,400”, thus signaling towards a future increase in the cadet strength. As reported earlier, NDA, the only junior tri-services training institute in the country, had in 2010 increased the number of cadets from 1,800 to 2,100 as one of the measures to meet the officer shortage which then stood at about 11,500.
The increase in cadet strength to 2,400 may also mean additional infrastructure facilities at the academy. Predictably, the reply listed “training infrastructure required to meet the increase in (cadet) strength” as one of the key result areas of the academy in the year 2014-15.
The future plans of the academy include construction work related to 5th Battalion and allied facilities, construction of 4 Squadron buildings, construction of 16 additional classrooms and laboratories, 20 play fields, and construction of an auditorium to accommodate 3,700 people at a time besides others.
At present, according to official information, the NDA has 18 squadrons — the latest additions being 16th, 17th and 18th squadrons called Panthers, Quebec and Romeo, respectively. It may be noted that though the new squadrons have been created, the infrastructure for them is yet to come up. The cadets, in the absence of the buildings for 16th, 17th and 18th squadrons, are being put up in temporary porta cabins.
The reply said phase II of porta cabins was one of the developments in the pipeline.
According to a senior NDA official, the work for allied infrastructure for the long delayed 16th Squadron too had already begun, while the construction of the actual building block for 16th Squadron might begin in about six months’ time. “We are waiting for environmental clearance,” said the official.