President Ram Nath Kovind reviewed the passing out parade of the 134th course of the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla, near Pune, on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, the President Kovind said that he was delighted to review the passing out parade at the NDA, as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, this was a moment of immense satisfaction for him.

The Armed Forces are a symbol of excellence and dedication for the entire country. This parade comprises cadets from all parts of India and from a variety of communities. Its harmony speaks for our essential unity as much as for our pluralism as a society, he said.

Kovind said that a soldier or an officer in uniform, irrespective of whether he or she is from the Army, the Navy or the Air Force, evokes admiration and trust everywhere in the country. If a fellow citizen sees a member of the Armed Forces at a railway station or a market or at any other place, there is an immediate emotion of pride and reassurance.

This is due to the unparalleled and unquestioning service to the nation in times of war and peace, on the border or within the country during a natural calamity. The Armed Forces represent the best of the Indian ethos, Kovind said.

President Kovind said that the NDA is more than just a training facility. It is the crucible of valour and bravery. It has inculcated a resolve and a spirit of national service in generations of cadets and generations of officers. It is because of this heritage that in December 1978 President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy conferred the President’s Colours on the NDA.

Addressing the cadets, Kovind said that the armed forces are not merely about doing a job – they are about answering a calling. And this is a calling for a rare breed of human beings. Today, the cadets have become role models for our young people, guarantors of our peace and prosperity, and guardians of our nation.

Kovind said that he strongly identifies with armed forces and his first visit outside Delhi after taking office was to meet soldiers in Ladakh.

He also talked about his recent visit to Siachen Glacier, and said “seeing the grit and determination of the gallant soldiers and officers posted there, made me very proud”.

He expressed confidence that the graduating cadets would prove worthy successors to the unflinching and fearless officers who have preceded them.