The first batch of 2,585 Agniveers, including 273 women, of the Indian Navy passed out from the portals of INS Chilka in Odisha in a first of its kind- ceremonial night passing out parade held on Tuesday under the aegis of Southern Naval Command.
Though passing out parades (POPs) are traditionally conducted in the morning hours, it was the first occasion when the PoP was conducted post-sunset, a first-of-its-kind in the Indian Armed Forces.
The passing out parade marked the successful culmination of 16 weeks of rigorous naval training. The sea warriors have been trained to make the Indian Navy a combat ready, credible, cohesive and future proof force, said an official statement.
Admiral R Hari Kumar, chief of the naval staff, who reviewed the passing out parade, said it is “historic for the Indian Navy” as the first ever batch of women sailors passed out on the occasion.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase our Nari Shakti to the world. As the nation watches, our women sailors are shipping across INS Chilka. It will provide inspiration for an entire generation of young women in the country,” said the Navy chief.
Kumar urged the passing out trainees to hone their skills further and develop a strong foundation of knowledge, willingness to learn and commitment to excel in their respective careers that lay ahead. He also urged them to uphold the Indian Navy’s core values of duty, honour and courage in pursuit of Nation building.
Addressing the sea warriors, the Navy chief said the first batch of Agniveers are going to script history by becoming the first batch of India’s Agniveers and to start a new age in the Indian Navy.
The Navy chief said that the first batch of Agniveers will act as the torchbearer for the future Agniveers. “This batch will decide how the future Agniveers can be part of India’s security by joining the Indian Navy. Not just that, these Agniveers will also determine how to contribute to nation building without being in the armed forces,” said Hari Kumar in his address.
Stating that India and the Indian Navy are developing rapidly, the top Navy commander said the Agniveers are fortunate to be part of the growth and they should realise that they are stepping into one of the most admired professions across the world.
The Agnipath Scheme was launched by the Narendra Modi government on June 14, 2022. Subsequently, the Indian Navy had carried out a pan-India merit-based Agnipath recruitment scheme and leveraged the opportunity to commence the entry of women Agniveers into service.
Among others, vice admiral M A Hampiholi, the flag officer commanding-in-chief, Southern Naval Command, eminent track athlete and Member of Parliament P T Usha, sports personality Mithali Raj and several naval veterans attended the passing out parade.