For the first time since its establishment a decade ago, the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala in Kannur on Saturday organised a unique event for the cadets who completed their training to join the force, adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocol.
A total of 259 trainees of the Academy smartly turned up in whites with mask and gloves for the event christened as Course Completion Ceremony, in lieu of the traditional Passing Out Parade.
The Passing Out Parade (POP) for any Armed Forces Academy is a solemn occasion usually conducted with grandeur and sheen witnessed by parents, guests and dignitaries.
However, in times of the COVID19 crisis, the ceremony was aligned to follow the safety protocols, wherein the health and safety of all trainees, is of paramount importance, a Defence release said.
To prevent the congregation of people from myriad states and Union Territories, parents and guests were not invited for the ceremony organised implementing all precautionary protocols of COVID19.
"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 COVID19 pandemic situation," the release said.
As the nation navigated the lockdown and the exit in phases, training structure at INA too was modified with effect from March 24, 2020, to ensure adherence to all Government of India, Government of Kerala and Naval Headquarters directives, it said.
The training was carried out initially by online assignments, and later with dispersed seating with a minimum 6 feet interspacing in classrooms and exam halls.
Stringent precautionary measures instituted by the academy has helped in accomplishing the challenging goal of training more than 900 cadets and the successful culmination of the Spring Term with nil COVID-19 cases at INA.
The ceremony witnessed the completion of training for the Midshipmen and cadets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and friendly foreign navies belonging to the 98th Indian Naval Academy Course (BTech), 98th Indian Naval Academy Course (MSc), 29th Naval Orientation Course (Extended) and 30th Naval Orientation Course (Regular), the release said.
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.
Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, the Reviewing Officer for the occasion, awarded medals to nine meritorious trainees.
Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Commandant, Indian Naval Academy was the Conducting Officer.