Ezhimala. 13 June 2020. It was a course completion ceremony at the Indian Naval Academy (INA), with a difference for the Spring Term 2020. No parents and guests of trainees, no local guests courtesy the COVID -19 crisis.

259 trainees of Indian Naval Academy smartly turned up in whites with mask and gloves for a unique event christened as Course Completion Ceremony, in lieu of the traditional Passing Out Parade . The POP for any Armed Forces Academy is an occasion usually conducted with grandeur and sheen witnessed by parents, guests and dignitaries. However in times of the COVID – 19 crisis, the ceremony was aligned to follow the safety protocols, wherein health and of safety all trainees, is of paramount importance.

The ‘President’s Gold Medal’ for the Indian Naval Academy B.Tech course was awarded to Midshipman Sushil Singh. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation Course (Extended) was awarded to Cadet BhavyGujral. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation (Regular) Course was awarded to Cadet Vipul Bharadwaj. The ‘Zamorin Trophy’ for the best women cadet was awarded to Cadet Riya Sharma.

The trainees who  completed their training, comprised  98th Indian Naval Academy Course (B.Tech), 98th Indian Naval Academy Course (MSc), 29th  Naval Orientation Course (Extended) and 30th Naval Orientation Course (Regular) including Coast Guard and trainees from friendly foreign countries.The successful trainees from friendly foreign countries comprised seven trainees; two trainees each from Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and one each from Maldives, Tanzania and Seychelles.

 INA followed the principle of ‘Adapt and Adopt’ to continue training during the COVID – 19 crisis. This included adapting to the circumstances by modifying the training pattern and adopting safe practices of social distancing and preventive measures. The trainees completing the course have successfully met their requisite standards of academics and outdoor training. The passing out trainees were administered the Oath of Allegiance by Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, VSM,  Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor,  INA on 10th June 2020. To commemorate the sacrifices of the brave soldiers of the country, a Wreath Laying Ceremony was also conducted at the War Memorial “Prerna Sthal” of INA. These trainees will move to their professional schools and downstream units, directly from INA by service transport on completion of the course.

Ever since the establishment of present Naval Academy at Ezhimala in 2009, this is the first time that the training of a batch culminated without a ceremonial march past due to ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic situation. As the nation navigated the lockdown and the exit in phases, training structure at INA too was modified with effect from 24th March 2020 to ensure adherence to all Government of India, Government of Kerala and Naval Headquarters directives. Training was carried out initially by online assignments, and later with dispersed seating with minimum 6 feet interspacing in class rooms and exam halls. Stringent precautionary measures institutedby the academy has helped in accomplishing the challenging goal of training more than 900 cadets and successful culmination of the Spring Term with nil COVID-19 cases at INA.

 Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla,  Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command was the Chief Guest for the Course Completion Ceremony. He awarded medals to nine meritorious trainees. Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, AVSM, NM, Commandant, Indian Naval Academy was the Conducting Officer. The Reviewing Officer, in hisaddress,congratulated the passing out courses and advised themto imbibe the core values of Indian Navy ‘Duty, Honour and Courage’ in letter and spirit.He encouraged the cadets to keep the fighting spirit intact irrespective of the circumstances around.