Pune: It was still a few minutes before dawn when we assembled at India's premier tri-service training institute – the National Defence Academy's (NDA) Khetrapal Parade Ground at Khadakwasla in Pune on Wednesday.
With the sunrising on the backdrop of themajestic Sahyadri mountains, about 1,065 cadets participated in the spectacular parade, of which 300 were from the 143 passing out course. This included 207 Army cadets, 39 Naval cadets and 54 Air Force cadets, with 19 cadets from friendly foreign countries (Bhutan, Tajikistan, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Mongolia and Bangladesh).
Marking the culmination of the three-year-long, extremely demanding and arduous training at the academy, the 90-minute-long Passing Out Parade (POP) was a spectacle to behold, with contingents of cadets coming through the gates of the Quartermaster's Fort, marching to tunes of the NDA song 'Hum NDA ke cadets hain' and accompanied by the Academy Adjutant astride ona charger.
A masterly display of drillmovements, synchronised with the accompanying band, impressed all those present. The parade was reviewed by the Reviewing Officer Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar – an alumnus of the 61st course of the academy, who arrived in a ceremonial buggy, marked by the first helicopter flypast.
The parade culminated with 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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