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NDA Passing Out Parade today: Here is all you need to know about it

The NDA POP marks the culmination of the three-year-long, extremely demanding and arduous training at the academy. Each year, two courses of cadets pass out of India's premier military academy, hailed as the cradle of military leadership located overseeing the foothills of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra.

The Passing Out Parade is taking place at the Khetrapal Ground in Pune. (Express Photo: Arun Horizon/File)

With the backdrop of the sun rising from the majestic Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Passing Out Parade (POP) of the 143rd course of the National Defence Academy will commence in the early hours of Wednesday on Khetrapal Parade Ground of the premier tr-services academy located at Khadakwasla in Pune. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar — alumnus of 61st course of the academy — will be Reviewing Officer (RO) for the POP. Here is all you need to know about one of the most prestigious military events in the country.

The NDA POP marks the culmination of the three-year-long, extremely demanding and arduous training at the academy. Each year, two courses of cadets pass out of India’s premier military academy, hailed as the cradle of military leadership located overseeing the foothills of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra.

After passing out from the NDA, the cadets head out for one more year of pre-commissioning training at the academies of their respective Armed forces – Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala located in Kannur district of Kerala, Indian Military Academy in Dehradun for Army and the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, located in Telangana.

The parade takes place on the Khetrapal Ground of the NDA. The ground is named after Second Lieutenant Arun Khetrapal, a posthumous recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, who was killed in action in the Battle of Basantar in the Battlefield of Shakargarh during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

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The parade commences with the contingent markers taking their positions on the parade ground. This is followed by the rest of the contingents coming out through the gates of the Quartermaster’s Fort marching on the tunes of the NDA song Hum NDA ke cadet hain. These cadets are accompanied by the Academy Adjutant astride on a charger. When the Spring Term of the NDA passed out around May end, the cadets wear while summer uniforms, when the Autumn Term passes out around November end, the cadets wear navy blue winter uniforms.

The line ups of the NDA parades — which are known for the immaculate drill movements of the cadets — comprise not just the passing out cadets but also cadets from the junior terms. After the cadets take their position, the President’s Colours are brought onto the ground with attendees, civilians and service personnel, according honours by standing up and saluting respectively. President’s Colours or President’s Standard — which is a ceremonial flag — are awarded by the Supreme Commander of the Armed forces in recognition of a unit’s services. With three cadets carrying Colours taking position, the parade is all set for the review.

It is at this point that the Deputy Commandant and Commandant of the Academy arrive at the ground followed by the Army Commander of the Pune Headquartered Southern Command. Subsequently, the Reviewing Officer (RO) — who this time will be Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar — arrives in a ceremonial buggy. The arrival of the RO is marked by the first flypast of the parade which is of helicopters. The parade is dotted by the impressive flypasts of the helicopters, trainer aircraft and fighter aircraft including the frontline fighter jets of the IAF, Sukhoi-30 MKI.

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The RO then reviews the parade by moving in a ceremonial car along the parade line up, accompanied by the Commandant and the cadet leading the parade. The cadets then march forward to the martial tune of Kadam Kadam Badhaye Jaa and salute the RO as each of the contingent passes the podium. The RO then pins medals on the medal winning cadets of the academy and also honours the Campion squadron. The RO then addresses the parade and attendees.

The last leg of the parade marks an emotional culmination of three year long arduous training at the academy for the passing out cadets. As the junior cadets participating in the parade march back to Quartermaster’s Fort, the passing out cadets march past the Antim Pag — last step — at the Quarterdeck flag mast of the Khetrapal Ground with the lilting tune of the Auld Lang Syne played by the military band.

All three present service chiefs — Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar and Army Chief General Manoj Pande — are from the 61st course of the academy. Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan is also an alumnus of the academy.

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This POP will be significant in its own way in the history of the NDA, as it is the first POP since the academy has inducted its first batch of the women cadets. Admitted in June, the first batch of girl cadets has a strength of 19 — 10 for Army, six for Air Force and three for the Navy. The first batch of girl cadets is slated to pass out from the academy in the Spring Term of 2025.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 06:31 IST
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