The number of squadrons at the National Defence Academy (NDA) has officially increased from 15 to 18. The new squadrons 16th (Panthers),17th (Quebec) and 18th (Romeo) have been added at the academy with the course that began in January.
Recently,in place of 15 squadrons,18 squadrons ran for the Cross Country on February 19. Panthers won the competition and Romeo finished second. The Indian Express had reported about the 16th squadron in 2010.
The formation of the new squadrons is a result of the increased cadet strength of the academy. For the first time last year,the cadet strength went up from 1,800 to over 2,000. Sources said that the number of cadets is expected to grow further given the officer shortage at the national level.
On February 20,The Indian Express had written to the NDA,asking for details regarding the two additional squadrons. In a press release dated March 3,the academy revealed the existence of 18 squadrons. Three new squadrons,Panther,Quebec and Romeo,have been added to the existing 15 squadrons starting this term (Spring Term 2012),which began in January this year, the release stated.
The formation of the 17th and 18th squadrons also calls for an increased number of battalions at the academy each of which includes four squadrons. While Panthers has been made part of the fourth Battalion,Quebec and Romeo will be a part of the newly created Fifth Battalion.
While the construction of the 16th squadron has not yet started,the academy did not reveal details regarding the stage of approval the 17th and the 18th squadrons were in and when the process of raising them was initiated.
Meanwhile,Army Chief General V K Singh,on Saturday inaugurated the porta cabins (pre-fabricated shelters),which will temporarily accommodate cadets of the recently formed squadrons. During his meeting with the NDA Commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh,the Army chief said more stress should be laid on infrastructure development at the academy.