In 1943, then C-in-C Gen Auckinleck, directed that the unused fund be put to good use to build a new ‘Inter Service Academy' (ISA), instead of wasting it on a National War Memorial. During the travel of the files up and down the corridors of power in South block in Delhi, ‘Inter Service Academy (ISA) morphed into a ‘National War Academy’ (NWA).
The sanction envisaged setting up of an interim ‘Junior Experimental Wing’ (JEW), of the Indian Military Academy in Clement town (Dehradun), while the new NWA was to be built at the disused 28.4 Sq Km combined-forces training centre and mock landing ship, HMS Angostura, on the north bank of the Khadakvasla lake which had been used to train British and American troops for amphibious landings during early part of WW-II (Malayan campaign for which an amphibious attack had been planned).
When NWA was ready, JEW was to shift to Khadakwasla. Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, popularly known as ‘Le Corbusier’ was appointed as consultant to develop the architecture and design of NWA. After 3 yrs training, final commissioning of the cadets was to be after specialist service training at existing IMA (Dehra Dun)/ equivalent academies for Navy and AF in UK.
India's share of £70,000 Sudanese gift (remaining £30,000 was given to Pak) was used to construct the administrative block of ‘NDA’ (Sudan Block).
Twelve Indian states were asked to donate Rs 5 lakhs each for the construction of 12 Sqn residential blocks and the Cadet’s Mess.
The donor states for the Sqn residential buildings were -
'A Sqn' Madras & Andhra;
'B Sqn' - Madhya Pradesh;
'C Sqn' - Maharashtra;
'D Sqn' - Bihar;
'E Sqn' - Uttar Pradesh;
'F Sqn' - Orissa;
ISW started functioning on 17 Feb 1948, from the abandoned Italian Prisoner of War Camp barracks in Clement Town in Dehradun. 190 cadets (141 for the Army, 25 Navy and 24 for the Air Force) reported at Clement Town between 6 - 9 Jan 1949, to form ‘Able’ and ‘Baker’ Sqns, with 4 Divisions subdivided into 8 ‘Sections’.
Though DK Ghosh, a naval cadet had the privilege of being Able -1, the first Cadet to report to ISW was A-188, DS Sabhiki (later Air Marshal) who reported at 0630 hrs on 6 Jan 1949.
The first batch had about 40 cadets from RIMC and KGRIM.
Their training started from 11 Jan 1949. In July 1949 when the second batch joined, 'C' (Charlie) and 'D' (Dog) Sqns came into being.
It is not known when ISW changed to Joint Services Wing (JSW) or whether there was an official JSW. ISW (or later JSW) continued in Clement town and moved to Khadakvasla in small batches starting 7 Dec '54.
On 31 Dec 1948, Brig Singh issued routine orders splitting IMA into Armed Forces Academy (AFA) wef 1 January 1949 with two Wings, Military Wing and an Inter-Services Wing (ISW).
AFA was notified as the interim National War Academy,foibles of the political-military relations which existed right from day one after independence.
During the naming of Sqns, phonetic names were adopted and Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog became Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Fox. The reason why Dog was not made Delta and why they were named Fox is also not known. Fox was shifted to 2nd Bn along with newly raised E, G & H Sqns (with Fox occupying the block facing the Cadet’s mess, southern group of blocks). No 1 Bn (A/B/C/D) moved to the new set of Northern blocks with C facing the Dhobi Ghat (infamous well into which stolen cycles of cadets were dumped! This was the eternal fear of cadets!). The older blocks vacated by 1 Bn was allotted to 3rd Bn (now Kilo came to occupy the block, facing Gol Market vacated by Dog Sqn). 3rd Bn was now on the western side, in line with the Cadet’s mess. The MH was to come up later.
Rest of NDA was constructed using internal resources of the army, army engineers and pioneers, and extraordinary resourcefulness of the Commandants, with no help from GoI or Ministry of Defence, both of which deemed Army superfluous till the 1959 Chinese incursions at Longju (NEFA) and Kongka La (Ladakh).
It is understood that during Adm. Pereira’s time, around 71/72, there was a clockwise rotation of Sqns in each Bn block. The reason for this is not known. Now NDA has grown to 5 Bns, with 18 Sqns , Alpha to Romeo under a Lt Gen (or equivalent). It is understood that there is likely to be further increase in the size of NDA, perhaps in porta cabins......