Pune: The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, who reviewed the Passing Out Parade (POP) of the 134th course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Khadakwasla on Wednesday, described the Armed Forces as a ‘rare breed of human beings’ who represent India’s pluralism and ethos.
A total of 344 cadets of the 134th course of the NDA, Khadakwasla, graduated from the academy after a spectacular POP at the Khetarpal Parade Ground. After three years of rigorous training, they will now achieve the ideals of officers and gentlemen.
There were 238 cadets from the Army, 26 from the Navy and 80 from the Air Force who graduated. These include 15 cadets from friendly foreign countries from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Kazakhstan, Lesotho and Tajikistan.
A masterly display of drill movements, synchronised with the accompanying band impressed the thousands of viewers who included proud parents, friends and relatives of cadets and people from Pune and other places.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was delighted to review the POP at the NDA.
‘Soldier in uniform evokes trust’
“The Armed Forces are a symbol of excellence and dedication for the entire country. The 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. 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. This is due to the unparalleled and unquestioning service to the nation in times of war and peace, on the border or within the country during a natural calamity. The Armed Forces represent the best of the Indian ethos,” the President said.
“The NDA is more than just a training facility. It is the crucible of valour and bravery. It has inculcated a resolve and a spirit of national service in generations of cadets and generations of officers. It is because of this heritage that in December 1978 President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy conferred the President’s Colours on the NDA,” he added.
‘Cadets a role model for young people’
Addressing the cadets, the President said 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. Today, the cadets have become role models for our young people, guarantors of our peace and prosperity, and guardians of our nation,” he said.
The Reviewing Officer also appreciated the efforts put in by the Commandant, the officers and staff at NDA for having successfully turned boys into scholar warriors.
Battalion Cadet Captain Akshat Raj won the President’s Gold Medal for standing first in the overall order of merit. Academy Cadet Captain Md Sohail Islam won the Silver Medal for standing second and Squadron Cadet Captain Ali Ahmed Choudhary won the Bronze Medal for standing third.
‘Kilo’ Squadron bagged the prestigious ‘Chiefs of Staff Banner’, for being the Champion Squadron.