National Defence College
बुध्दिर्यस्य बलंतस्य (Sanskrit)
Motto in English
Buddhiryasya Balamtasya (Wisdom is Strength)
TypeDefence Service Training Institute
Established27 April 1960
CommandantAir Marshal Hardeep Bains, AVSM, VSM

The National Defence College, located in New Delhi, is the defence service training institute and highest seat of strategic learning for officers of the Defence Service and the Civil Services. This is a very prestigious course attended only by a few hand-picked defence officers of One-Star rank and civil servants of the rank of Joint secretary to the Government of India. Each year, approximately 25 officers from friendly foreign countries like the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, UAE and others attend the course.[1]

This college provides strategic leadership to the Government of India in national and international security matters and also acts as a think tank on defence matters and holds a very important position in shaping up the Indian defence outlook.


After India's independence in 1947, senior officers of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force attended the Imperial Defence College (IDC) in the United Kingdom before being appointed to important commands. The vacancies at the IDC was only about two or three each year. In 1959, the Government of India announced that a college on the pattern of the IDC will set up in New Delhi. This would allow for a larger number of officers to be trained. Lieutenant General Kanwar Bahadur Singh, the Adjutant General at Army HQ was appointed the first Commandant of the college.[2]


The College is located on Tees January Marg of Lutyens' Delhi, in a grand British-era building spread over acres of lush green lawns. The building was built by Sir Sobha Singh as a mansion for Khan Saheb Tej Muhammad Khan of Badrashi, North-West Frontier Province. From 1939 to 1947, the building served as an Army General Mess. From 1947 to 1960, it was the office and residence of the Deputy High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to India.[3]

The college is adjacent to the home where Mahatma Gandhi lived the last five months of his life, and the garden where he was assassinated - the Gandhi Smriti. Residential facilities for the officers are located in the central vista of Delhi, on Ashok Rajpath near India Gate. The Commandant of NDC has a bungalow at 16, Akbar Road called NDC House.[4]


The crest of NDC has a lamp of knowledge surrounded by the wreath of green Ashoka tree leaves with the State Emblem of India superimposed and placed against the rich maroon backdrop of the Joint Services flag. The lamp has four flames representing the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force and the Civil Services of India.


Main article: Commandant of the National Defence College

The NDC is headed by the Commandant who is the overall in-charge of all the functioning of the college including academics and administration. The Commandant of the college is an Officer of Three-star rank. The tenure of each Commandant is for 2 years which rotates between the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.

Faculty and staff

Further information: Category:Academic staff of the National Defence College, India

The Faculty of NDC was designed to be minimal. There are called Senior Directing Staff (SDS) and direct the students, rather than deliver lectures. The lectures are delivered by distinguished guest speakers. The SDS is drawn from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Civil services and are of two-star rank. Usually, there are 7 SDS (Army – 3, Navy – 1, Air Force – 1, IAS – 1 and IFS – 1). Apart from these 7 SDS, the college regularly invites think tanks, ambassadors of different nations, business leaders, ministers from India and friendly countries, defence chiefs of friendly countries to give lectures in the college.[5]

The administrative wing is headed by the Secretary, a one-star officer from the Indian Army and an alumnus of NDC. He is assisted by the Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster General (AA&QMG), an officer of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Other key staff include the Directing Staff (Coordination) (DS Coord) and Junior Directing Staff (Research & Reference) (JDS R&R). They are officers from the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force on rotation. The DS (Coord) is of the rank of Captain/Group Captain and the JDS (R&R) is of the rank of Commander/Wing Commander.[5]


Delegation of National Defence College of India in a meeting with Reuven Rivlin president of Israel, August 2018

The NDC conducts a 47-week National Security and Strategic Study course each year which commences in the first week of January each year and finishes in the first week of December. This course also involves extensive travel within and outside the country to visit Indian states and foreign countries where course members meet head of states and important decision makers to understand the political, social and strategic landscape of the state/country. The entire course is divided in six subjects spread over two terms, as follows:[6]

Method of Study

During the course of each study, the course is divided into seven groups called Integrated Analysis Groups (IAG). Each IAG comprises 13–14 members (4–5 army officers, 1 naval officer, 1–2 air force officers, 3–4 IAS/IPS/Civil Services officers and 4–5 foreign military officers). Each IAG function in a synergetic mode for the purpose of analysing issues, discussions, preparation of papers and presentations. Since 2006, the college has been formally affiliated with Madras University for the award of M.Phil. degree in 'Defence and Strategic Studies.'[7]

Notable Indian Alumni

See also: Category:National Defence College, India alumni

The Indian alumni include both Chiefs of the Defence Staffs, 13 Chiefs of the Army Staff, 9 Chiefs of the Naval Staff, 10 Chiefs of the Air Staff, 3 Directors of the Intelligence Bureau, 2 Chief Election Commissioners, 12 Ambassadors of India, 3 Directors of CBI, 3 Defence Secretaries and 3 Foreign Secretaries.[8]

Five alumni went on to become Governors of Indian States/UT - Balmiki Prasad Singh, Lieutenant General Krishna Mohan Seth, Vinod Kumar Duggal, E. S. L. Narasimhan and Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh.[8]

Notable International Alumni

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan is the youngest student to attend NDC.
Hussain Muhammad Ershad, 10th President of Bangladesh & 4th Chief of Army Staff of the Bangladesh Army
General Sir Peter Cosgrove, 26th Governor-General of Australia & 10th CDF, Australia
Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, 10th CDS Sri Lanka & 20th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy.
General Purna Chandra Thapa, 12th Chief of the Army Staff of the Nepalese Army

Heads of State, Heads of Government, and Representatives

Chiefs of Defence



Air Force

See also


  1. ^ [dead link]
  3. ^ "History of the Building". Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  4. ^ Nov 17, Raj Shekhar / TNN / Updated. "Cops in tizzy over air marshal's nameplates | Delhi News - Times of India". The Times of India.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b [dead link]
  6. ^ Suchet Vir Singh (13 May 2022). "In a first, executive from private sector enrolled in annual National Defence College course". (online). Archived from the original on 13 May 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  7. ^ "National Defence College". National Defence College. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Prominent Alumni". Retrieved 8 February 2023.