The first batch of 60 Navy officer cadets who joined the Indian Naval Academy (INA) here passed out on Saturday on completing its flagship B.Tech course, at a grand passing out parade which was reviewed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

The first B.Tech graduated officer cadets from the INA passed out along with 242 other officer cadets of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard at an impressive passing out parade held at the INA In the morning.

Addressing the parade, the Defence Minister said that the INA had made considerable progress in every facet of naval training. The academy today could be compared with the best in the world, he noted. Announcing that more infrastructure projects for modernising the armed forces were in the pipeline, he said that they would ensure best training facilities.

Congratulating the graduating cadets on completing the B.Tech curriculum along with rigorous military training, Mr. Antony advised the future naval officers to treat their subordinates with dignity and character. He said that the Indian Navy was poised for acquiring high-end weaponry. Referring to the Navy's decision to make B.Tech degree mandatory for the officers of its executive branch, the Minister said that the transformation to B.Tech would pave the way for the technological transition of the naval force.

The B.Tech course was started at INA when it was commissioned in January 2009 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Till then, only officers of the technical branches were required to have engineering degree.

Apart from the cadets of the 84th INA course who completed B.Tech., the cadets who passed out on Saturday included 84th Integrated Cadet Course, the 15th Naval Orientation Extended Course and the 16th Naval Orientation Regular Course.

The ‘Presidents Gold Medal’ for the cadet adjudged first in the overall order-of-merit of the INAC course was awarded to Eby P. Henry. Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medals for the cadets adjudged first in overall order-of-merit for the Naval Orientation Extended Course and the Naval Orientation Regular Course were conferred on Anshu Bhau and Arun Kuriakose, respectively. Archana Sharma was bestowed the ‘Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command Gold Medal’ for being adjudged the best women trainee of the course. The trained cadets included 23 women cadets from the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard.

Admiral D.K. Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command, and a galaxy of distinguished personalities including foreign military attaches witnessed the ceremonies with parents of the cadets. The parade concluded with the cadets marching past the INA's Saluting Dias (known as the Quarterdeck), to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

As an added attraction to the passing out ceremony, Navy and Coast Guard Dornier aircraft flew past the venue in formation. On completion of the parade, the ceremony of ‘Shipping-of-Stripes’ was held. During the ceremony, parents of the passing out cadets affixed the rank insignias, popularly known as ‘Stripes’, on the shoulders of their wards, symbolising their transformation from ‘cadets’ into military leaders.

The Defence Minister also paid homage at the INA War Memorial after the Parade and inaugurated a state-of-the-art library named Panini

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