NDA passing out parade glittering & proud affair

The historic Sinhagad Fort serving as the backdrop, 318 cadets of the 123rd course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) marched past the quarter deck, welling with pride as parents, well-wishers and some of the most accomplished serving and retired officers of the three services looked on, with equal pride.

The Passing out Parade on Thursday was impeccable, with the synchronous movements of the cadets making a perfect symphony with the tunes of Auld Lang Syne and Sare Jahan se Achcha.

Any lack of thunder was made up by the formations of in-house Super Dimonas and Sukhoi-30 MKIs roaring past the cadets at the Khetarpal Ground.

The parade was reviewed by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bikram Singh who was all praise for the turnout and the parade. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Southern Command, Lt Gen A K Singh, NDA Commandant Lt Gen Ashok Singh and NDA Deputy Commandant, Rear Admiral Anand Iyer were present among others.

Addressing the cadets, General Bikram Singh said, "41 years ago, I was standing where you are now and I can sense the pride. You are on the threshold of a defining period. You belong to the last bastion of the country and you cannot fail. Let your decisions be guided by the NDA motto 'Service before Self'. He also recalled General Sundarji's words saying, "soldiering is not a mere profession, but a way of life." The previous Passing out Parade was reviewed by general V K Singh on his last day in office as COAS. In spite of the turbulence the NDA witnessed in the recent past, cadets of the 123rd course came out with flying colours with medals and awards spread over squadrons and services.

The President's Gold Medal was awarded to Battalion Cadet Captain B Shakya of the Echo Squadron, and the Silver Medal to Academy Cadet Adjutant A V Kohale of India Squadron. The Bronze winner was Battalion Cadet Captain A Chandel of the Mike Squadron. The Chief of Staff Banner was bagged by the November Squadron. In January, these cadets will join their respective finishing academies, the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala and the Air Force Academy, Secunderabad. After training at these finishing academies for a year, they will be commissioned into the three services.

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