When we first heard of this (alleged recruitment scam of class IV employees) disaster at the NDA, it left us dumbfounded. The first reaction of most alumni was that this could not be true... Have they finally managed to destroy the NDA we knew and loved so deeply?” Maj Gen (Retd) G D Bakshi, military analyst, posed this question in his essay titled Destruction of National Defence Academy (NDA), his alma mater that he fondly remembers as Temple of Mars.
Bakshi’s essay is one of many such views and recommendations by veteran tri-services' officers towards betterment of training at premiere training institutions in the country that have been compiled in the book Victory India by city-based Colonel (Rtd) Vinay B Dalvi.
The book was released by Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of Air Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) at Air HQ, New Delhi on Tuesday.
The 300-page book is an outcome of views expressed by about 20 authors — former commandants of the NDA, OTA a DGMT, Chief of Naval Staff, SSB psychologist, lecturers and faculty at the NDA. It is a constructive criticism on the state of affairs pertaining to selection and training of officers at the NDA, Indian Military Academy (IMA), Naval and Air Force Academies and the Officers Training Academy (OTA). And what weaves the views together is immense concern towards the state of affairs of military training in the country — most importantly the NDA.
In his essay NDA at crossroads — realist dilemma, Admiral S C S Bangara, former FOC-in-C, Southern Naval Command and former commandant, NDA, throws light on his much talked about Vision 2020-NDA and problems, solutions and what remained unaddressed due to procedural and bureaucratic delays.
Referring to CORTOS committee in 1985, Bangara says, “The chapter on NDA was not complementary and a series of recommendations were made to smoothen and refine the training process of the Academy. The recommendation to create an independent governing board to expedite numerous decisions required to keep this 8,000-acre campus on a par with the best in the world was shelved.”
“Beneath the impressive exterior facade, the Academy infrastructure was crumbling and decrepit...the main reason for this was detached approach and inadequate financial support from Army HQs,” says Admiral Arun Prakash, former CNS and ex-Commandant, NDA.
“IDS HQs should be made responsible for providing adequate support to NDA in areas like budget, works and staff recruitment," he says concluding on a more relevant note, “It may be worthwhile linking up the service records of those who excel or falter in higher ranks with their NDA records. SSB evaluations may be useful to find out whether there were early indications of a flaw which the system overlooked.”
Air Marshal (Retd) T S Randhawa, former commandant, NDA, recommends regular training audit of the Academy and speculates if selection process be outsourced. “But to whom (if not the SSB),” he says.
“We approached Air Chief to release it because it is him, the decision maker as Chairman, COSC, who can set the ball rolling. This is a positive book and we are sure it would be viewed as a guide to bring reforms,” said Dalvi. The foreword of the book is by Maj Gen V K Madhok, from NDA’s first course.