What happened at NDA is system aberration, says Commandant

Prithviraj Chavan

Addressing the convocation of the 123rd course of the National Defence Academy, NDA Commandant Lt Gen Ashok Singh told them to put the unsavoury happenings of the year at the Academy behind them.

"What happened at the National Defence Academy is an aberration in the system. I was phoned by the chief to come and give a new fillip to the academy. Never ever get it into your mind that cadets of the 123rd course have any drawbacks. The 123rd course has performed exceedingly well," said NDA Commandant Lt Gen Ashok Singh addressing the convocation of the 123rd course.

This is the first time that Lt Gen Ashok Singh has spoken openly about the state of affairs at the academy post the CBI raids in connection with alleged irregularities in recruitment of class IV employees in June-July.

He took over as Commandant in August after his predecessor Lt Gen Jatinder Singh was transferred by Defence Minister A K Antony to allow a fair probe into the alleged scam.

As reported first by The Indian Express, Lt Gen Ashok Singh prior to his present post commanded the Mathura-based 1 Corps-a principal offensive formation of the Army- an appointment considered extremely prestigious. He is probably the first to take over as NDA Commandant after having commanded an operational formation of the level of a Corps.

"The resilience of the academy is tremendous. When I took over, the battalions, the squadrons, and the training were fine. We carried out an internal as well as external audit wherein officers of HQ IDS (Headquarters, Integrated Defence Staff) came down. We had the sports policy changed. We changed the punishment policy. We did not want relegation as punishment. We also revised the Officer Like Qualities (OLQs) as well as the honour code. We brought down stress fractures from 80s to around 16-18. There are people who say NDA is on a slow burner. But it is not so. The academy is getting better," he said.

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