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Women in the National Defence Academy (NDA)

Major Satish Khanna (Retd) Writes : 

Editor’s Note

The USI has been a place to air views for more than 150 years now. The contents in this blog piece are of Major Satish Khanna (Retd) a senior veteran and longtime life member of the USI of India. These arise from the news of The Supreme Court seeking response from the Centre and the NDA on a public interest litigation challenging the exclusion of women candidates from applying or entering the prestigious National Defence Academy and Naval Academy. The blog provides an opportunity for members who may like to air any views they have on this issue.

Major Satish Khanna writes giving contents from Ricochet (

The article whose URL is given above gives a very interesting statement which strongly advocates the basis for refusal to women’s entry in to the armed forces.  Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Congressman, has just said a few things about the military in response to a question from an equality-focussed CNN reporter about the Dept of Defence ban of transgenders joining the US armed forces. He nails it! Any army, as the author aptly writes, is not an equal opportunity organisation but is an army organised meant to fight & win wars. Obviously, there is no place for any runners up in any fighting army.

In our military allowing women to serve in Army Aviation, Air Defence, JAG Branch, Ordnance Depots, AEC, Records and  or similar environments is one thing but to have them squeezed in with 3 male members of a tank crew in a T90 Tank is impractical.

Trey Gowdy states that “Nobody has a ‘right’ to serve in the Military.  Nobody.  What makes people think the Military is an equal opportunity employer?  Very far from it. He further saysThe Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short. Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for missing or additional fingers.Poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth. Malnourished?  Drug addiction? Bad back?  Criminal history? Low IQ?  Anxiety?  Phobias?  Hearing damage? Six arms? Hear voices in your head? Self-identification as a Unicorn? Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair?

Can’t run the required course in the required time? Can’t do the required number of push-ups? Not really a ‘morning person’ and refuse to get out of bed before noon? All can be reasons for denial.”

He states further “The Military has only one job. War. Anything else is a distraction and a liability. Did someone just scream ‘That isn’t Fair’? War is VERY unfair, there are no exceptions made for being special or challenged or socially wonderful.YOU change yourself to meet Military standards… Not the other way around.I say again: You don’t change the Military… you must change yourself. The Military doesn’t need to accommodate anyone with special issues. The Military needs to Win Wars.If any of your personal issues are liabilities that detract from readiness or lethality… Thank you for applying and good luck in future endeavours.”

In light of above the following can be ruminated upon:

  1. There is a tendency to consider the Defence Forces as a welfare organisation meant to provide jobs to all as a right to equality. No one is concerned with its primary role of fighting and winning wars.
  2. Women should first be empowered in many other walks of civilian life before talking about the military.
  3. Just because some of the women have climbed Everest does not entitle all women to be considered having done so. Medical fitness is an essential requirement for each individual.
  4. Sole purpose of the Armed Forces is to win in the wars. There are no medals for runners up in it.
  5. The army is not supposed to be an equal opportunity employer. There is no room for democracy and women empowerment and all those good things in the army – it has always been a cruel business to win a war and will remain to be so.
  6. You do not win wars in courts of law. There is only one place for it – the battlefield.


Major Satish Khanna (Retd) is an Armoured Corps officer who is a life member of the USI of India.
Article uploaded on: 18-03-2021
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation that he belongs to or of the USI of India.

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3 thoughts on “Women in the National Defence Academy (NDA)

  1. Praveen Bakshi says:

    A very nuanced yet jaundiced view, far removed from reality. Future conflicts are commonly agreed to be with grey zone as the default optionWe are moving away from kinetic to non kinetic/non contact warfare. So where do push ups matter? We need to shed inhibitions and be more open minded. Alsa, the PMF, Police forces and others have stolen a match over us…we remain ossified in our wars if yesteryears. I support women entry into NDA…They may surprise us!

  2. Ghanshyam Singh Katoch says:

    Some countries meet the criteria of equal opportunity and tiding over the apprehensions that the author has brought out by having the same standards of physical fitness tests for men and women. Lesser women may qualify the tests, but those that do will be able to do everything that a male soldier,  sailor or airman does.

  3. Sumeet says:

    If women want to join NDA and be treated as equal where is the issue with meeting military standards? India has had women in military for a very long time. Learn from your own ancient history. Why regress?

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