New Delhi. 28 March 2023. The Passing Out Parade (POP) of the First batch of Agniveers is scheduled at INS Chilka . The POP marks the successful completion of training of close to 2600 Agniveers including 273 women Agniveers undergoing training at Chilka. Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff will be the Chief Guest and the Reviewing Officer of the Passing out Parade. VAdm MA Hampiholi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command would also be present on the occasion along with other Senior Naval Officers and dignitaries. The successful trainees would be deployed on frontline warships for their Sea training.
On 14 Jun 2022 Defence Minister and the three Service Chiefs launched the Agnipath Scheme. In consonance with the GoI initiative of a pan-India merit-based Agnipath recruitment scheme, Indian Navy oriented its selection, training and deployment methodology to lay the foundation of a contemporary, dynamic, younger and technically equipped future-ready. The Navy further leveraged this opportunity to commence the entry of Women Agniveers; consequently, close to 2600 Agniveers including 273 women Agniveers were inducted in the Indian Navy and commenced their training at INS Chilka, in November 2022.
As part of their transformation to Sea Warriors, the Agniveers underwent 16 weeks of ab-initio training at INS Chilka, the premier sailors’ training establishment of the Indian Navy. The training at INS Chilka encompassed academic, service and outdoor training, based on the core Naval values of Duty, Honour and Courage.
This first batch of Agniveers also includes those women and men Agniveer who were part of the Indian Navy RD Parade Contingent at the Kartavya Path on 26 January this year.
The Passing Out Parade is a momentous occasion for the trainees and a proud moment for their families. This is the first-ever passing out of the Agniveers from any training institution of the country post successful completion of ab-initio training – a significant landmark towards a new beginning for the Armed Forces and the Nation. Traditionally, POPs have been conducted in the morning hours, however, this Historic POP is scheduled to be conducted post-sunset, a first of its kind in the Indian Armed Forces.
During the POP deserving Agniveers would be presented awards by the Chief Guest in various categories. This year onwards, acknowledging the contribution of the first Chief of Defence Staff, the Late General Bipin Rawat towards the transformational Agnipath scheme; the Indian Navy has instituted the General Bipin Rawat Rolling Trophy for the ‘Woman Agniveer Trainee Standing First in Overall Order of Merit’. This trophy would be presented to the deserving woman Agniveer by the daughters of the Late General Rawat.
To commemorate this landmark event and motivate the Agniveers, for the first time, the Passing Out Parade is being attended by eminent Veteran sailors who have excelled in their Service as well as post-retirement careers and eminent sportswomen have been invited to the POP as Guests of Honour.
Ms PT Usha, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), who is popularly known as the ‘Queen of Indian Track and Field’ and Payyoli Express is a proud recipient of the Padma Shri award and President of the Indian Olympics Association. Ms Mithali Raj, former captain of the Indian women’s Cricket team and one of the greatest women cricketers of all time. She is the recipient of Padma Shri, Arjuna Award and Maj Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna awards. Both PT Usha and Mithali Raj have kindly consented to grace this occasion with their presence.
The eminent Veterans who would be present to motivate the Passing Out Agniveers include Chiman Singh, ex-PO CDI, MVC, a war hero of the 1971 Indo-Pak War who was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. Gajanan Jagannath Mane, who participated in the 1971 India –Pak War and was awarded the Padma Shri for his vast societal contributions post-release. Harjinder Singh Cheema, ex-POME, who contributed immensely to the nation by establishing a 500-crore industry of ‘Cheema Boilers Ltd’ In Punjab. Shankar Singh Shishodia, ex-POCDI, who founded the ‘Shri Prem Singh Badgujar Charitable Trust’ undertaking free treatment of poor patients and established the ‘Mahadev Marmo Private Ltd’ a firm involved in the exploration, mining and processing of Natural stones. Darshan Singh Ahluwalia, ex-CHELA, who has been functioning as Administrator of reputed Schools and was accredited with the ‘Best Administrator’ from the ‘Indus Group of Institutions’ in 2016. Avtar Singh, ex-MCELR II, who has been an International Hockey player, an inspirational coach of the Indian Women Team (Junior) and a recipient of CNS felicitation. Harishankar Yadav, ex-POEL(P), who holds the ‘Guinness World Record’ for most step-ups in 24 hours, ‘Limca National record’ for covering a distance of 4,249 km on cycle in 2005 and a National Record for cycling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari thrice in the year 2007. Manoj Kumar Sharma, ex-POEL(R), who is accredited with the establishment of a diversified company with a turnover of over 15 crores dealing in supplying construction material to reputed builders and construction companies like Tata, L&T etc.
These veteran sailors, with their illustrious Service careers and their contribution to the nation post-retirement, will serve as inspirational models for the Agniveers.