Mumbai: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday described the armed forces as a "rare breed of human beings" and said they are a symbol of excellence and dedication for the entire country.
The president was here to review the passing out parade of the 134th course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla near Pune.
"The armed forces are not merely about doing a job they are about answering a calling. And this is a calling for a rare breed of human beings," he said during the event.
Delighted to review the passing out parade, Kovind said as the supreme commander of the armed forces, this was a moment of immense satisfaction for him.
"The armed forces are a symbol of excellence and dedication for the entire country. This parade comprises cadets from all parts of India and from a variety of communities. Its harmony speaks for our essential unity as much as for our pluralism as a society," he said.
The president said a soldier or an officer in uniform, irrespective of whether he or she is from the Army, the Navy or the Air Force, evokes admiration and trust everywhere in the country.
"If a fellow citizen sees a member of the armed forces at a railway station or a market or at any other place, there is an immediate emotion of pride and reassurance," he noted.
Commending their unparalleled and unquestioning service to the nation in times of war and peace -- on the border or within the country -- during a natural calamity, Kovind said "the armed forces represent the best of the Indian ethos".
Talking about the NDA, the president called it a crucible of valour and bravery, and complimented it for inculcating a resolve and spirit of national service in generations of cadets and officers.
It is because of this heritage that in December 1978 (the then) president Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy conferred the president's colours on the NDA, he said.
"Today, the cadets have become role models for our young people, guarantors of our peace and prosperity, and guardians of our nation," he added.
The president expressed confidence that the graduating cadets would prove worthy successors to the unflinching and fearless officers who have preceded them.