Admiral R Hari Kumar, chief of the Naval Staff, who reviewed the passing out parade, said “It is a historic moment for the Indian Navy” as the first-ever batch of women sailors passed out on the occasion.
The first batch of 2,585 Agniveers, including 273 women, of the Indian Navy, passed out from the portals of INS Chilka in Odisha in a first of its kind- ceremonial night passing out parade held on Tuesday under the aegis of Southern Naval Command. The parade was reviewed by Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, in the presence of vice admiral M A Hampiholi, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.
The passing out parade marks, not only the successful culmination of 16 weeks of their ab-initio rigorous naval training but also the start of a new voyage in the Indian Navy, where men and women will work together to make the Indian Navy a combat-ready, credible, cohesive and future proof force, said an official statement.
Operationally, India had a very spirited and engaging time in the last year, Kumar said while adding that the Indian Navy had achieved a very high operational cadence in the last year. Accentuating that the services are gender-neutral, Kumar said that the Indian Navy has previously accepted fighter pilots and female air operations officers and that women sailors are now being enlisted.
Though passing out parades (POPs) are traditionally performed in the morning hours, it was the first occacitationen the PoP was conducted post-sunset, a first of its kind in the Indian Armed Forces. This is the first-ever passing out of the Agniveers from any training institution in the country.
“This batch will determine how the future Agniveers can be part of India’s security by joining the Indian Navy. Not just that, these Agniveers will also discern how to contribute to nation-building without being in the armed forces,” said Hari Kumar in his address.
The Admiral also awarded medals and trophies to the meritorious Agniveers on the occasion. Amalakanti Jayaram and Ajith P., among the men, were awarded the Chief of Naval Staff Rolling Trophy and a gold medal for Best Agniveer SSR and MR, respectively.
Kushi was adjudged the best woman Agniveer in the overall order of excellence. A Rolling Trophy, instituted to commemorate the vision of the late General Bipin Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Staff, was awarded to her by the daughters of General Rawat.
Earlier in the day, during the valedictory function, the Chief of the Naval Staff gave away the overall championship trophy to Eklavya Division, and the runners-up trophy to Angad and Shivaji Division.
This first batch of Agniveers also comprises those women and men Agniveer who were part of the Indian Navy RD Parade Contingent at the Kartavya Path on 26 January this year.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase our Nari Shakti to the world. As the nation watches, our women sailors are shipping across INS Chilka. It will inspire an entire generation of young women in the country,” said Navy Chief R Hari Kumar.
The Agnipath Scheme was launched by the Narendra Modi government on June 14, 2022. Thereafter, the Indian Navy carried out a pan-India merit-based Agnipath recruitment scheme and leveraged the prospect to commence the entry of women Agniveers into service.