Pune: Pune lad Cadet adjutant Nikhil Prabhune stood first in the order of merit in academics in the 120th passing-out batch of the National Defence Academy (NDA).
The son of a retired Indian Air Force sergeant from Lohegaon, Nikhil was awarded the Chief of Naval Staff trophy by the general officer commanding-in-chief of Southern Command, Lieutenant General AK Singh, at the convocation ceremony held at NDA's Habibullah Hall on Monday morning.
Nikhil also won the Admiral's trophy for standing first in the computer science stream.
Divisional cadet captain Kishor Kunal bagged the Chief of Army Staff trophy for standing first in the science stream and cadet Amrit Raj won the Chief of Air Staff trophy for standing first in the arts stream.
A total of 335 cadets from the 120th batch of the NDA were awarded graduation degrees from the Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday. Of these, 107 cadets were awarded degrees in arts, 123 in computer science and 105 in science. The graduates include three from the Maldives and one from Bhutan.
Nikhil had stood 17th in the all-India merit list for the NDA entrance examination three years ago. He will join the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala next month and aims at becoming a naval aviator. Speaking to media persons after the convocation ceremony, Nikhil said consistent hard work helped him bag the top academic prize at the NDA. He said he considered the NDA to be special because it provides all-round development.
"I learnt the Russian language and also became a good sailor at the academy," Nikhil said.
On the other hand Kunal, who hails from Champaran in Bihar, is the son of a school teacher. Kunal, who heads for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in July is keen to become an infantry officer in the Gorkha Rifles. He was all praise for the training modules at the NDA. "When I joined the academy, I did not know how to swim. But by the end of my term, I managed to swim a 3-km stretch in the Khadakwasla lake."
Similar were the views of Amrit Raj, a resident of Patna in Bihar and the son of an accountant. Amrit said he could not swim nor run when he joined the academy, but has become proficient in both fields. "Today I am able to run 16 km with ease. We are just raw material. The academy moulds us," Amrit said. He also wants to become an infantry officer.
In his convocation address, Singh displayed sensitivity when he addressed the audience in both Hindi and English, considering that many parents and guardians are not familiar with English. Singh urged the cadets to become dynamic leaders, who could inspire jawans, sailors and the air warriors in battle.
"Trust and leadership are two important attributes that you need to imbibe. Service should always be before self," Singh said.