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“Balance of tradition and innovation necessary”: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Combined Graduation Parade

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To mark the successful culmination of training for 213 Flight Cadets of the flying and ground duty branches of the Indian Air Force (IAF), a Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) was held at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal, on Sunday.

The parade was reviewed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who also conferred the President’s Commission on the graduating Flight Cadets upon successful completion of their training.

The graduating officers included 25 women officers who were commissioned in various branches of the IAF.

On this occasion, eight officers from the Indian Navy, nine from the Indian Coast Guard and two from friendly foreign countries were also awarded wings upon successful completion of their flying training.

The Defence Minister was presented with a general salute by the parade, followed by a march past. Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ by the Minister were awarded stripes at a ‘Commissioning Ceremony’.

The graduating officers were then administered the ‘Oath’ by the Commandant of the Academy. The Defence Minister also gave awards to the trainees who had excelled in various disciplines of training.Addressing the Combined Graduation Parade (CGP), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the newly commissioned officers and said, “I congratulate all the trainers who participated in this parade. This parade shows the efforts you have put in. I also congratulate all the winners of the awards. Today is one of the greatest days of your life. You are setting out on a new path from today. You are becoming an officer from a cadet. There is so much difference between a cadet’s life and an officer’s life.”He further mentioned that, as an officer now, the graduating trainees will learn from their lives and Open Sky will be their instructor.

“When you are a cadet, your instructor teaches you a lesson and then an exam is conducted on it. But the reality is different in the outside world. In real life, you will take the exam first and then learn a lesson from your mistakes. Your instructor will also change. Your senior officer or trainer will not be your instructor any more but your life and open sky will be your instructors,” Rajnath Singh said.

“Today you are so energetic, excited, happy, and full of new thinking and idealism. If you remember this happiness and energy, this idealism, even for 1 minute before your daily work, then definitely you will never lose your idealism, and the cadet’s energy, innovation and idealism will always remain within you. I am sure you will remember this. I would definitely like to tell you one thing. Don’t lose your openness to new thinking, new ideas and your idealism under any circumstances. Tradition is very crucial in the Armed Forces because it is time-tested. However, innovation is also necessary. Innovation prepares us for changing times and situations. A balance of tradition and innovation is necessary. Follow traditions and also bring innovations. You keep flying in the skies but also maintain your relationship with the land, he added.

The CGP was interspersed by a synchronised fly-past by trainer aircraft that comprised 03 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II, 03 Hawk and 03 Kiran, along with 03 Chetak helicopters.

The parade culminated with the newly commissioned officers marching out in two columns in a slow march. An enthralling aerobatic show by Su-30 MKI and synchronous aerobatics by the helicopter display team ‘Sarang’ and ‘SuryaKiran Aerobatic Team’ (SKAT) marked the grand finale of the CGP.

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