Lieutenant General K Bahadur Singh, MBE was appointed the first Commandant of NDC in October 1959. After doing his schooling at Prince of Wales Royal Military College at Dehradun he joined Royal Military College Sandhurst and was commissioned on 31 January 1931 into 2 Highland Light Infantary at Kanpur. During Second World War he became Japanese prisoner of war after the fall of Singapore. He received MBE at the end of war. In 1951, 190 Infantary Brigade was raised and commanded by him. As Maj Gen he commanded 5 & 4 Infantary Divisions. His last appointment was as Army Commander Central Command. In 1967 he was appointed Lt Governor of Himachal Pradesh.
Vice Admiral AK Chatterji Born in 1914, he entered the Royal Indian Navy in 1933 as one of the first cadet -entry officers. Being qualified as an anti-submarine specialist he saw active service afloat in the Second World War in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. In 1950 he commanded INS Delhi (the erstwhile HMS Achiles of the Battle of River Plate Fame) in the rank of Captain. He became Deputy Chief of Naval Staff in February 1958. In January 1964 in the rank of Vice Admiral he assumed the appointment of Commandant National Defence College. On his promotion to the rank of Admiral he took over as Chief of Naval Staff on 01 March 1968.
Air Marshal R Rajaram, DFC took over the reins of the College from Vice Admiral AK Chatterji on 16 January 1966. He had joined the College at its inception, and had been one of the first Senior Directing Staff with the 1st course. A distinguished pilot, Air Marshal R Rajaram brought to bear upon his appointment the rich experience of field and staff assignments. His tenure lasted less than a year, and saw the unfortunate cancellation of the Foreign Countries Tour due to financial constraints post the Indo-Pak War 1965 and the famine. He remained as the Commandant till December 1966.
Lieutenant General MM Khanna, MVC Lt Gen MM Khanna took over as the Commandant on 21 December 1966. A highly decorated and distinguished soldier, he was the recipient of the Mahavir Chakra, the second highest decoration for gallantry on the battlefield. A forceful and dynamic personality, he was an exemplary leader. He was particular about the levels of analysis by the course members. The papers and theses written by the course members were well received by the ministries. Lt Gen MM Khanna remained as the Commandant till November 1968.
Vice Admiral SN Kohli, Padma Bhushan, PVSM Admiral Sourendra Nath Kohli assumed charge of the NDC as the Commandant on 04 January 1969. Born on 21 June 1916 he was educated at St Stephen’s College Delhi and then joined Royal Indian Navy on 25 June 1938. He was deputed to the United Kingdom in December 1948 in connection with acquisition of destroyers. As Rear Admiral he commanded the Indian Fleet from 1967 to 1969. During the 1971 Indo - Pak War, as FOC-in-C Western Naval Fleet he was responsible for all naval operations and defence of western coastline. He was awarded Padma Bhushan for “Demonstrating exceptional ability, sagacity and fortitude in putting into effect the several plans for the defence of our harbours and coastline”. He took over as the Chief of the Naval Staff on 23 February 1973.
Air Marshal H Moolgavkar, PVSM, MVC took over as the Commandant of the National Defence College on 1 April 1971. He had joined the Indian Air Force in 1940 during the Second World War and had flown substantial number of operational sorties against the Japanese, flying Spitfires and Hurricanes. In 1947-48 he commanded Number 1 (Operational) Wing in Jammu and Kashmir, and led numerous fighterbomber missions in operations. He personally led the air attacks on the Domel bridge in the Uri Sector, and later on the Pakistani gun areas in Uri. He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra for his gallantry. He later rose to head the Central and then the Western Air Command before becoming the Chief of the Air Staff in 1976.
Lieutenant General MN Batra, PVSM took over the reins of the College from Air Marshal H Moolgavkar on 1 April 1973 and stayed at the helm till 26 December 1974. Lt Gen MN Batra had started his service career with the Corps of Signals. He thereafter shifted to the Intelligence Corps. He had attended the 1st NDC course. From 1961 to 1971 he held prestigious assignments including Director General of Military Intelligence. He was thereafter posted to the National Defence College as the Senior Directing Staff (Army). He was instrumental for inducting Naval personnel to run the National Defence College Officers’ Mess which hither-to-before was being run by a civil contractor, which changed the traditions and functioning of the College for the better.
Vice Admiral S H Sarma, PVSM took over as the Commandant NDC on 8 January 1975 and was in the chair till 6 January 1977. He had played a prominent role during the Indo-Pak War 1971 as Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Fleet. The Fleet had sunk the Pakistani submarine Ghazi. Its aircraft carrier battle group had blockaded East Pakistan and had launched highly effective air attacks to put down the Pakistani airfield at Chittagong and interdict the riverine traffic. Subsequently it had launched a brigade-sized amphibious operation at Cox’s Bazaar to prevent the escape of the Pakistani army via the sea. He had been the Senior Directing Staff (Navy) at the National Defence College in 1970. After his tenure as Commandant, NDC he went on to become the FOC-in-C of the Eastern Naval Command.
Air Marshal TN Ghadiok, PVSM, AVSM, VrC Air Marshal TN Ghadiok
Air Marshal TN Ghadiok was an experienced instructor. He had been a Directing Staff and then Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College. He commanded the Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, 44 Squadron (IAF), and the Air Force Station, Chandigarh. He was Indian Air Attache in Moscow and the Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Command. He took over as Commandant on 07 January 1977.
Lieutenant General WAG Pinto, PVSM Lt Gen WAG Pinto, was an intellectual and a flamboyant personality, a combat veteran who participated in the Indian offensive into the Shakargarh Bulge as the General Officer Commanding 54 Infantry Division during the Indo-Pak War 1971. He used to wear a floppy beret with several badges, quite like Field Marshal Montgomery. He had been Chief Instructor (Army) at the Defence Services Staff College, President of Services Sports Control Board and the Vice President of the Indian Hockey Federation. He was also a member of the Indian Olympic Committee. After his tenure with the National Defence College, he got promoted and became the Army Commander of Central Command. He was at the helm of the College from 2 January 1979 to 30 January 1980.
Air Marshal DG King-lee, PVSM, AVSM was succeeded by Air Marshal DG King-Lee on 10 September 1980. Air Marshal King-Lee was a fighter pilot. He had led the No. 8 and 9 Squadrons in the North Western Frontier Province. He had been an Air Officer Commanding of Air Force Station Gwalior and thereafter Air Advisor in the Indian High Commission at Dacca for five years. He subsequently became Air Officer Commanding J&K. He was Senior Air Staff Officer at the Training Command before taking up his assignment at the National Defence College. He remained as the Commandant till August 1982. He went on to head the Eastern Air Command as its Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
Vice Admiral RV Aarte, AVSM took over the reins of the College on 1 September 1982 and remained at the helm till 31 August 1984. He was commissioned into the Navy in 1950 in the Executive Branch, and had been a Logistics Officer and Assistant Chief of Personnel. He retired as the Chief of Logistics in November 1985. Vice Admiral Aarte took up a case for inclusion of a course member from the USA. He felt that having US course member at the National Defence College would allow better interaction at the international level. Shri MK Rasgotra, the then Foreign Secretary agreed to the suggestion, and thus the course was subscribed by an US Officer who joined the 25th Course.
Lieutenant General Himmeth Singh, PVSM of the Brigade of the Guards was an intellectual who wrote extensively on security issues. He had seen front line service during Sino-Indo Conflict 1962, and Indo-Pak War 1965 and 1971. He had served earlier at the College of Combat. Lt Gen Himmeth Singh took over as the Commandant on 1 September 1984 and was in the chair till 30 June 1986. He oversaw the 24th, 25th, and 26th National Defence College Course. He was instrumental for the majestic conduct of the Silver Jubilee Celebration of NDC. He also introduced many new concepts for instructions in the College.
Air Marshal PK Puri, AVSM, VSM took over from Lt Gen Himmeth Singh on 5 July 1986 and remained at the helm till 31 August 1988. He was from the flying branch of the Indian Air Force, and earlier served with No. 10, 11 and 13 IAF Squadrons. He had been a Directing Staff at the College of Air Warfare and Head of Faculty at the College of Defence Management and later rose to be the Commandant of the same institution. He had a rich exposure to high level Defence Planning as the Staff Officer (Air) at the Cabinet Secretariat (Military Wing), and later functioned as the Secretary of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He went on to be the Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarters Maintenance Command and later the Air Officer Personnel at the Air Headquarters.
Vice Admiral SP Govil, PVSM, AVSM was in the saddle of the College from 1 September 1988 till 25 September 1990. An officer from the executive branch, he had commanded INS Ganga, INS Talwar and INS Dunagiri. He had been the Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command and Fleet Commander Eastern Fleet. As a Vice Admiral, he was one of the first Fortress Commanders of the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands. After his tenure as Commandant of the College, he went on to become the Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief of a Naval Command and thereafter Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.
Lieutenant General KS Khajuria, PVSM assumed the office of the Commandant of the College on 26 September 1990, and was at the helm till 30 June 1992. Thus he oversaw the 30th, 31st and 32nd Course during his tenure. Lt Gen Khajuria was commissioned in the Armoured Corps and had been the Director General of Military Intelligence during the critical period of the Sri Lanka peace-keeping operations. He was a soft-spoken man of considerable erudition and scholarship. During his tenure the College was visited by quite a few foreign delegations from France, South Korea, UK, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.
Air Marshal S Kulkarni, PVSM, VM assumed the office of the Commandant of the National Defence College on 1 July 1992 and remained till January 1995. He had been a Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, and Commandant of the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad. The British officer of the course, Brig MJ Strudwick has made a observation that one of the first acts of Air Marshal S Kulkarni on assuming charge as the Commandant was to readjust his chair in the auditorium so that he could see both the speaker and the course members. He was an officer from the Flying Branch (Navigation) and had commanded Air Force Stations at Begumpet and Tambaram.
Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha, PVSM, AVSM, NM took over the reins of the National Defence College on 5 January 1995 and stayed on till 31 December 1996. A Naval Aviator, he had commanded INS Kiltan and Vindhyagiri, and was the Commissioning Commanding Officer of INS Viraat, the India’s only aircraft carrier. He had attended the 29th Course and had been Director Naval Air Staff and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) in the Naval Headquarters. Prior to being the Commandant of National Defence College, he had been Flag Officer Commanding, Maharashtra and Gujarat Area and then the Goa Naval Area. After his stint at the College, he went on to become the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and then the FOC-in-C of the Eastern Command and thereafter of the Western Naval Command.
Lieutenant General SRR Aiyengar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM took over from Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha on 1 January 1997 and was in the saddle till 15 April 1999. He thus oversaw the 37th, 38th and part of the 39th Course. Lt Gen SRR Aiyengar was from the Corps of Signals. He had been an instructor and later Commandant at the Defence Services Staff College, Chief Signal Officer of a Strike Corps and Additional Director General in the Complaint Advisory Board in the Chief of the Army Staff Secretariat. He had been Commandant of the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow prior to joining the College as Commandant.
Air Marshal VG Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VM took over the reins of the College from Lt Gen SRR Aiyengar on 16 April 1999 and continued at the helm for nearly two years till 31 March 2001. He was a pilot from the transport stream. He had been a Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College and had commanded the Air Headquarters Communication Squadron. He was subsequently Director Operations (Transport and Maritime) in the Air Headquarters and then Indian Air Attaché in the USA. On promotion to Air Marshal he became Senior Air Staff Officer of Central Air Command and was thereafter the Director General Defence Planning Staff.
Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad PVSM, AVSM, VSM took over as the Commandant of the College on 1 April 2001 and continued at the helm till 30 December 2002. Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad was a Naval Aviator who had commanded the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, the INS Ranvir and Frigate Brahmaputra. He had been the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Operations), Flag Officer Naval Aviation, Flag Officer Goa Area and then the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. He had done the Command and General Staff Course from the Vorishilov General Staff Academy at Moscow. Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad went on to become the Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief, Southern Naval Command and thereafter the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.
Lieutenant General SS Chahal PVSM, AVSM, VSM took over from Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad on 31 December 2002 and was in chair till 30 June 2004. He had been the Director General Military Operations during Operation Parakram. He was a stern disciplinarian. Lt Gen Chahal had been the General Officer Commanding of 25 Infantry Division. A key highlight of Lt Gen Chahal’s tenure was the hosting of the 7th Meeting of the National Defence Universities and Colleges of the ASEAN Regional Forum by the NDC. It was a mammoth event superbly choreographed and hosted at the Taj Palace Hotel. 41 delegations from the National Defence University/National Defence Colleges of 18 of the 23 ASEAN Regional Forum countries attended the event.
Lieutenant General Tej Pathak AVSM, YSM** took over from Lt Gen SS Chahal on 1 July 2004 and remained as the Commandant till 31 December 2004. Lt Gen Tej Pathak was from the Para (Special Forces). He had been the Commanding Officer of the 9 Para (Commando) battalion and had commanded 10 Infantry Division and a Strike Corps. He had a short but a eventful tenure as the Commandant National Defence College, and thereafter went on to be the Director General of the Rashtriya Rifles.
Air Marshal PP Raj Kumar PVSM, AVSM took over the reins of the National Defence College on 1 January 2005 and was in the chair till 1 December 2006. He was a veteran helicopter pilot. He had flown 12 different types of helicopters and aircraft. He had commanded a MI-8 helicopter unit in Sri Lanka and later the Air Force Station, Vadodara. He had been the Deputy Commandant at the National Defence Academy before taking over as the Commandant of the National Defence College. Air Marshal Rajkumar went on to become the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command and then the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command.
Vice Admiral Pradeep Kaushiva UYSM, VSM assumed the office of Commandant National Defence College on 2 December 2006 and stayed at the helm till 30 September 2007. He had been Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of the National Defence Academy. Commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy in January 1968, Vice Admiral Kaushiva had specialized in Signals Communication and Information Warfare. He had commanded the Missile Boat INS Veer, Offshore Patrol Vessel Vijaya and the Guided Missile Frigate Ganga. He had been the Fleet Communication Officer of the Western Fleet and Fleet Operation Officer of the Eastern Fleet. He had also been the Director of Naval Operations.
Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin PVSM, AVSM, VSM took over the reins of the National Defence College on 1 October 2007 and was in the saddle till 31 December 2008. He attended the 38th NDC Course. He had the distinction of commissioning Missile Corvette INS Khukri and Guided Missile Destroyer INS Mumbai as the Ship Captain. He became a Vice Admiral in November 2006 and was Director General Project Seabird which was responsible for establishment of the Karwar Naval Base. He thereafter became Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (Doctrine, Organisation and Training) at the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence. Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin went on to become Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.
Lieutenant General Prakash Menon AVSM, VSM took over the command of the National Defence College on 1 January 2009. He had an M.Phil and Ph.D from the Madras University. His Ph.D thesis subject was ‘Limited War and Nuclear Deterrence in the Indo-Pak Context’. He commanded an infantry brigade in North Kashmir and a Counter Insurgency Force in South Kashmir. An alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College and College of Higher Defence Management, he was Secretary of the NDC from 6 December 2004 to 17 June 2005. The Golden Jubilee celebrations of the College were held under his stewardship. From the NDC he moved on as Military Advisor to the National Security Council Secretariat.
Air Marshal PK Roy AVSM VM VSM took over the reins of the college on 01 Jan 2011. Being an ace helicopter pilot he has flying experience of 4500 hrs on various types of helicopters. He has commanded a Helicopter unit, Air Force Station Thoise and Air Force Station New Delhi.He has served as the Military and Air Attache in the Indian Embassy at Ukraine. He has also held the appointments of Senior Officer in Charge Administration at HQ Eastern Air Command and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Airmen and Civilians) at Air HQ. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Higher Air Command Course at College of Air Warfare, Secunderabad and an alumnus of National Defence College, New Delhi.
Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba AVSM Commissioned on January 1, 1978, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba is a Navigation and Direction Specialist. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, College of Defence Management and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London.He has commanded four ships including a Minesweeper-INS Kakinada, a Frigate-INS Himgiri and Destroyers-INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai.The Admiral has held various important appointments including that of the Directing Staff at the College of Defence Management, Secundrabad, Fleet Operatons Officer, Western Fleet, Rear Admiral Special Patrol Vessels & Alternate Operating Bases (APV & FOB), COS, Southern Naval Command, FOST, FOC Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area and COS, Eastern Naval Command prior to taking over as Comdt, NDC.
Lieutenant General NS Ghei PVSM AVSM**, ADC was commissioned in parachute Regiment. He commanded a parachute Battallion in OP MEGHDOOT/OP VIJAY, the Parachute Brigade, a Mountain Division in Counter Terrorism and a Corps on the Western front. He had a long tenure of two and half years as Commandant, Nation Defence College and under his tutelage the NDC evolved into an icon of excellence where he brought about constructive changes in the training curriculum. The 20th ARF, HDUCIM was conducted by NDC under his able leadership.
Lieutenant General YVK Mohan SM, VSM was commissioned in 11 Gorkha Regiment on 19 Dec 1981. He commanded the Battalion in OP MEGHDOOT,a Infantry Brigade in High Altitude Area and a Mountain Division on the Northern Borders. He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London. He held various important appointments including Directing staff at NDA, Khadakwasla, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, AMA at Indian Embassy, Nepal, DACIDS (AFTI) and ACIDS (Jt Ops) of HQ IDS before taking over as Commandant NDC. His tenure as Commandant NDC he brought fresh perspective and methodical approach not only in training curriculum but college administration as well.
Vice Admiral Srikant AVSM, SM, VSM took over the reins of the National Defence College on 03 Mar 2018 and was in chair till 15 Dec 2019. He was commissioned in the Indian Navy in Jan 1982. He attended the 49th NDC Course. He is a Navigation and Direction specialist and a graduate of the United States Staff College, Newport Rhode Island. His important appointments include command of large destroyers INS Ranvijay and INS Delhi. He served as Naval adviser at High Commission of India in Pakistan from 1998-2002 when Op Vijay and Op Parakarm were conducted by India. Being elevated to an Admiral in Jul 2011, he has been submarines Class Authority, Flag Officer Submarines and has a long stint in Nation's Strategic Programme. He was the Inspector General Nuclear Safety and thereafter went on to assume appointment of Director General Project Seabird.
Air Marshal D Choudhury AVSM VM VSM is an alumnus of Royal College of Defence Studies UK, an MA in Strategy and International Security from King’s College London and M Phil in Defence and Strategic Studies. An extremely experienced fighter pilot and has flown over 5000 sorties on all frontline fighters of the IAF. Commanded a fighter Sqn, the prestigious Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and two frontline fighter bases as the AOC. Held various staff appointments at Air HQs on Joint Planning, Inspections, and Air Operations. Planned and conducted several IAF and Command level Exercises, and led three International Air Exercises in USA, France & UAE. Commanded the Composite Battle Response and Analysis Group, two Air Defence control Centres and served as Senior Air Staff Officer of HQ WAC. Also a Commodore Commandant of TACDE. An avid writer on Air Power, Strategy and International Security, Whose articles are regularly published in professional and academic journals. Security, whose articles are regularly published in professional and academic journals. Prior to the current appointment served as the Senior Air Staff Officer of IAF premier Western Air Command.
Lieutenant General Manoj Kumar Mago, AVSM, YSM, SM** is an alumnus of Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was commissioned into the elite Brigade of the GUARDS on 15 Dec 1984 in 7 GUARDS and commanded 16 GUARDS. In his distinguished military career spanning over 36 years, the General Officer has a rich operational experience of serving in Siachen Glacier, OP VIJAY in Kargil Sector, OP PARAKARAM in Desert Sector and Counter Insurgency Operations in Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland and Assam.
The General Officer has tenanted all his command assignment in a challenging operational environment. Having commanded his Battalion, 16 GUARDS, one of the largest and challenging Infantry Brigade and a versatile Infantry Division, all on the active line of control in Jammu and Kashmir. He has been the Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade in Counter Insurgency Operations in Jammu and Kashmir
He is an alumnus of Defence Service Staff College, Wellington and attended the prestigious Higher Command and National Defence College Courses. He has held important staff and instructional appointments like Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in (Counter Insurgency Operations) Jammu and Kashmir, Director in Military Operations Directorate dealing with policy formulation on security in Jammu and Kashmir, Deputy Military Secretary of Headquarter Southern Command, Principal Director in Headquarter Strategic Forces Command and steered the Operational Logistics of Indian Army as Director General (OL & SM) at Integrated Head Quarters of MoD (Army). His instructional experience includes tenures as Weapon Training Officer in GUARDS Regiment Centre (Kamptee), Directive Staff, Senior Command Wing, Army War College, Mhow and Commandant of one of the most prestigious Institute, famous for Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Training. The General Officer was tenanting the appt of ‘The Colonel’ Brigade of The Guards from 01 April 2021 to 31 December 2022 and commanded prestigious Corp on Western Border. He took over the reins of National Defence College as Commandant from 01 December 2021 to 31 December 2022- a period which witnessed remarkable and holistic institutional advancements in a number of domains.
He has been awarded Yudh Seva Medal and Senal Medal (Twice) for his distinguished service. The General Officer has distinguished himself on two United Nations peace keeping assignment in Somalia (UNOSOM-II) and as Force Chief of Staff in Congo (MONUSCO) where he was also awarded Force Commander (MONUSCO) Commendation.