Addressing the passing out cadets of the National Defence Academy (NDA), the vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Prof Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, urged the future military leaders of the country to imbibe gender sensitivity and tolerance to differences in human abilities and also embrace diversity in its various forms.
Prof Pandit was the chief guest for the convocation of the 143rd course of the NDA held Tuesday, wherein passing out cadets were conferred degrees in Arts, Science and Computer Science streams from the JNU and the cadets pursuing their BTech Engineering courses received the three-year completion certificates.
The passing out cadets of the Autumn Term 2022 included 65 cadets in Science stream, 89 cadets in Computer Science stream and 60 cadets in Social Sciences stream. Nineteen cadets from friendly foreign countries were also awarded degrees during the programme.
In addition, 95 cadets from the BTech stream comprising the Navy and Air Force cadets also received the three-year course completion certificate. These cadets will receive their degrees after completion of one more year of training at their respective pre-commissioning training academies –Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala and Air Force Academy, Dundigal.
Prof Pandit was received and introduced by the NDA Commandant Vice Admiral Ajay Kochhar, himself an alumnus of the 72nd course of the academy.
Speaking about the values of diversity and multiculturalism in the context of Indian civilisation, Prof Pandit said in her address to cadets: “As future military leaders, you will be required to embrace diversity in its various forms and be compassionate to your men and women coming from different backgrounds. With tolerance to differences in human abilities, you will be able to extract the best performance out of your subordinates and will be able to get along well with your peers and seniors. One of the critical skills for you to harness would be gender quotient since you will be operating in teams comprising both male and female officers.
I note with pride that entry of girl cadets has commenced at this iconic academy and a few batches down the line both male and female cadets will be sitting in this hall. Therefore, it is time for you to imbibe gender sensitivity and work collaboratively with your colleagues without being self-conscious of gender. This would multiply the strength of the armed forces manyfold.”
Admitted in June, the first batch of girl cadets has a strength of 19 – 10 in Army, six in Air Force and three in the Navy. The academy has said that training is being conducted in a ‘gender neutral’ manner.
Prof Pandit further said in her address, “While the physical training here has undoubtedly equipped you with requisite physical prowess, which will continue to grow during your further training, you must not ignore the importance of soft skills. In the future, you may have to operate in complex contexts, involving multiple agencies, where your soft and diplomatic skills will have immense application in achieving your goals. As members of the intellectual armed forces of the future, you will be required to perform diplomatic roles to ease military tensions.”
The academic report for Spring Term-2022 was presented during the convocation. Prof Pandit also pinned medals and awarded trophies to the cadets leading in academic performance – Cadet Sergeant Major Arpit Kumar in Science stream, Division Cadet Captain Akash Kaswan in the Computer Science stream, Cadet Nishant Sharma for the Arts stream, and Divisional Cadet Captain Amar Upadhyay for the BTech course.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar will be the Reviewing Officer for the Passing Out Parade (POP) of the 143rd course of the NDA, which will be held Wednesday. The POP marks the culmination of the three-year-long, extremely demanding, and arduous training at the academy.
The NDA has been recognized by the JNU since 1973 and confers BA, BSc and BSC Computer Science courses for the Army Cadets and BTech degrees for Navy and Air Force Cadets. The first convocation of the NDA was held on June 8 in 1974 in which 160 cadets from the 46th course had received their JNU degrees.