Being Girl, How can I join defence services of my nation?



I am a resident of Pune, appearing for my CBSE board exams. It’s my dream to serve the country by joining the defence services. My plan was to get educated at NDA. Unfortunately, I came to know that NDA at Pune prefers only boys. I want to know whether any NDA branch is for girls too. If there is, how can I join it as soon as I complete my class XII. What subjects should I opt for in class XI so as to satisfy the qualifications essential for entering NDA? Is Air Force for girls too? Can a girl be a pilot to serve the nation when there are wars in our country? What qualifications are necessary for being a squadron leader?



NDA doesn’t have any branch. And NDA is for boys alone. Entry for girls to the Armed Forces is possible after graduation. You can fulfil your ambition of joining the Air Force and becoming a pilot. But you will be able to fly helicopters and transport planes. Eligibility is BSc physics or maths or BSc general with physics and maths. Selection is on the basis of SSB tests, interview, a medical exam, and pilot aptitude battery test.



But there are scores of other opportunities for women candidate in the Indian Air Force and the other two wings of the Armed Forces. Thus, for example, there is direct entry for science graduates in air traffic control. There’s also direct entry for graduates in ground duty branches like administration & logistics and education.



In the Indian army women are recruited to the army service corps, army ordnance corps, Army intelligence corps, in the signals, and in engineering corps (technical services require an engineering degree). In the navy too women get entry in the education branch, logistics branch and Air Traffic Control, the last one being open to science graduates. Women can also join the Armed Forces Medical Service, after an MBBS at Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. If you are an NCC ‘C’ certificate holder, you can avail of the vacancies reserved for them in the three wings.



As to your query regarding qualification for a squadron leader, you become a squadron leader after promotions in the Indian Air Force. And you don’t have to be a fighter pilot for that. Ground duty officers also get that designation, or even higher designations. In fact, in 2002, Padma Bandopadhyay, became the first woman officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. She has risen to this high position as part of the medical service.



 



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I am a second year BE (Electronics and Communication) student. Please tell me what is the selection procedure to join the Indian army, and also when and where to apply.



Students who have not applied for the NDA route to army straight after class XII, can apply for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam, the eligibility for which is graduation. CDS examination is conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) and followedby a Staff Selection Board (SSB) interview. This mode is for graduates or equivalently qualified candidates between 19 to 24 years of age.



January and July are the entry months. In fact, for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy (the batch commencing in January 2005) and the Officers Training Academy (the batch commencing in April 2005), the admission announcement has been made in leading newspapers dated September 13. This mean that you should start looking for the related advertisements in leading dailies and the Employment News about 15 months in advance. A written examination is conducted, and based on your performance and on the order of preferences you have listed, you will be allotted a seat in any one of the following institutes:




  •  Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. An 18-month course. There are 150 vacancies out of which 32 are reserved for NCC ‘C’ certificate (army wing) holders.

  •  Naval Academy, Goa: There are 20 seats out of which six are reserved for NCC ‘C’ certificate (naval wing) holders.

  •  Air Force Station, Begumpet, Hyderabad.

  •  Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai. There are 235 seats. This is for short services commission officers.



You should specify, in order of preference, the services for which you wish to be considered. Indicate as many preferences as you wish, so that you can be assigned a service depending upon your rank in the merit list. For the Air Force and Navy, a science background- B.Sc. (Physics), B.Sc. (Maths) or BE is a must. The first stage of selection is based on objective-type written exam.



The questions test your mathematical ability, general awareness and English. Once you clear the written test, you will go through an SSB interview that will test your aptitude for the army.



Since you are an engineering branch of the Army, Navy or the Air Force. In fact the Air Force looks for people with electronics background for recruitment to aeronautical engineering. Recruitment is done through the University Entry Scheme and announcements are carried in leading newspapers and the Employment News.



 



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Armed to succeed


 



I am a student of ICSE Board, studying in class XI. I am keen to join the Indian Army. I have heard that the NDA exam is based on the CBSE syllabus. Is it advisable to change the board and switch over to a school affiliated to CBSE Board?



Though NDA is largely based on CBSE patter – in fact most competitive exams in the country after class XII are based on the CBSE pattern – yet the quality of education in ICSE Board is such that you shouldn’t have a cause for regret. As a student of ICSE Board, your fundamentals would be quite strong and you would not have much problem grasping the CBSE course. As it is, there are a few coaching institutes within Delhi and in other cities that prepare students for the NDA admission. By joining a reputed institute, you will have a good grasp of the NDA test pattern.



 



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Take-off stage


 



I am student of class XI, studying English, economics, maths, psychological, geography and computers. Earlier, I had opted for the sciences but since I was weak in chemistry I changed my mind. I have come to know that if one has studied physics and maths at the +2 level, one could take the examination for entry to the Air Force Academy. So, if I take up physics as an additional subject instead of psychology, would it help? Can I do a BSc in physics after that? I am really keen to join the Indian Air Force or the Navy. My parents are very supportive and want me to join the defence forces. Will physics and maths help me become a pilot?



First things first. You could have continued in the science stream. If you are good in maths and physics, you could have managed to do fairly well in chemistry with some extra effort. The PCM combination would have enabled you to join a science-based course (barring life sciences) in a university of repute. Most universities demand PCM/PCB for their science courses. For BSc physics, you do need PCM.



As regards the qualifications for entry to the Indian Air Force, yes, you are right. For the graduate entry scheme to the flying branch of the Indian Air Force, only maths and physics are required at 10+2 level. Not only that, you could be a graduate in any stream.



While graduate males could be given permanent commission, graduate women are inducted only on short service commission. They cannot be fighter pilots – they can fly transport aircraft and helicopters.



Besides the flying wing, there are two other wings – technical branch and ground duty branches. Technical branches recruit engineering graduates. But you can again apply for the administrative functions, as for most functions (barring accounts, for which a B.com. is required), a degree in any stream is accepted.



 



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