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Air Marshal Gill takes charge of NDA.


In a change of guard in the Pune-based National Defence Academy (NDA) which was in the news for wrong reasons for several months last year, Air Marshal Kulwant Singh Gill on Tuesday took charge as the new Commandant of the prestigious joint services academy of Indian Armed Forces.

Air Marshal Gill took over the reins of the NDA from Lt Gen Ashok Singh, who had been appointed as the commandant of the Academy on August 7 last year. Lt Gen Singh's appointment as the Commandant of NDA had, it may be recalled, come nearly a month after the federal Defence Ministry shunted out the Academy's the then commandant Lt. Gen Jatinder Singh to facilitate "free and fair" investigations into the recruitment scam that rocked the premier defence institute in the fourth week of June last year.

Commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force in 1977, the new NDA Commandant Air Marshal Gill is a highly decorated officer. He has more than 7,000 hours of accident-and-incident-free flying to his credit. He is also a Qualified Flying Instructor.

In his illustrious career spanning 35 years so far, Air Marshal Gill has had the distinction of commanding various frontline bases. He also has the distinction being the Contingent Commander for the first United Nations mission to Congo.

While commanding Air Force Station Leh, he was instrumental in re-commissioning of two airfields. During his command, Air Force Station Leh was declared the aACAyPride of Western Air Command'.

Air Marshal was conferred the Presidential award of Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) in 1990, Yudh Seva Medal in 2005 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2010. A keen sportsman and an avid adventurist, Air Marshal Gill was a member of seventh and eighth expeditions to Antarctica.

A joint services academy of the Indian Armed Forces, the NDA is an important defence training institution where cadets of the three services, the Army, Navy and Air Force are trained together before they go on to pre-commissioning training to their respective service academies.

Located at Khadakwasla near Pune, the NDA admits nearly 300 to 350 cadets to the academy each semester, after elaborate screening process. Of the cadets, 66 cadets are accepted for the Air Force, 39 for the Navy and 195 for the Army.

Air Marshal Gill's assumption of charge as the new commandant of NDA on the New Year day seeks to unleash a fresh whiff of air into the institution that was rocked by an unseemly staff recruitment scam in June/July last year.

In the scam in which a few NDA officials were found to have accepted bribes ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh from prospective candidates seeking several administrative posts, including clerks, lab assistant and library attendants, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had in all arrested eight persons, including two serving colonels.

During the initial phase of its investigation, the CBI seized a cash collectively amounting to Rs 1.76 crore during searches on the residences of the six accused.

Among others, former NDA commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh -- who was shunted out from his post in July last year --is being being investigated by the CBI for his alleged role in the staff recruitment scam.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 2, 2013
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