Astha Laheru, a first-year BTech student from Ahmedabad, has been selected for prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) in Khadakwasla, near Pune, India’s premier military training academy. Astha is one of the 19 girls from across the country and perhaps the first from Gujarat to be selected for the NDA, as this is the third batch of girls to be admitted to the Joint Defence Services Training Institute.
“I am very happy and it is a satisfying achievement. I am looking forward to my tenure at the National Defence Academy,” said 19-year-old Astha, who is scheduled to report to the academy on November 22. Ever since she was in class 8th, she dreamed of a professional career in the armed forces.
“A television show on the Indian Naval Academy (INA) fascinated me and that’s when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the armed forces,” said Astha.
More than 7 lakh NDA aspirants appeared in the written exam conducted by UPSC in September 2022, out of which only 9,000 were selected for the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview. This year, 400 candidates – 381 boys and 19 girls were selected for the NDA. Aastha stood ninth among 19 girls.