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The Vice Chancellor of JNU urges NDA graduates to embrace diversity and to be sensitive to gender differences

In her address to the passing out cadets of the National Defence Academy, Professor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), emphasized the importance of gender sensitivity, tolerance for differences in human abilities, and acceptance of diversity in all its forms among the future military leaders of the nation.

During the convocation of the 143rd NDA course held on Tuesday, Prof Pandit served as the chief guest. In addition to receiving degrees in Arts, Science, and Computer Science streams from JNU, cadets pursuing BTech Engineering courses received certificates indicating completion of their courses after three years of study.

A total of 65 cadets from the Science stream, 89 from the Computer Science stream, and 60 from the Social Sciences stream graduated in the Autumn Term of 2022. The program also awarded degrees to 19 cadets from friendly foreign countries.

Also, 95 cadets from the BTech stream, which includes cadets from the Navy and Air Force, received certificates of completion. After completing one more year of training at their respective pre-commissioning training academies, the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, and the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, these cadets will receive their degrees.

Vice Admiral Ajay Kochhar, himself a graduate of the 72nd course of the academy, received and introduced Professor Pandit.

Professor Pandit spoke to cadets regarding multiculturalism and diversity within the context of Indian civilisation, stating: “You will need to embrace diversity in its various forms as future military leaders and be compassionate toward your men and women from diverse backgrounds as future military leaders. By being tolerant of different human abilities, you will be able to extract the best performance from your subordinates and will be able to work effectively with your peers and seniors. In your capacity as a member of a team with both male and female officers, gender quotient will be one of the most critical skills for you to develop.

I am delighted to note that girl cadets have begun to enter this iconic academy, and a few batches down the road, both male and female cadets will be seated here. So, it is time for you to imbibe gender sensitivity and work collaboratively with your colleagues without feeling self-conscious about the gender of your colleagues. As a result, the strength of the armed forces would be multiplied many times over.”

The first batch of cadets admitted in June numbers 19 – 10 in the Army, six in the Air Force, and three in the Navy. As stated by the academy, training is being conducted in a gender-neutral manner.

The professor further stated in her address, “While the physical training here has undoubtedly equipped you with the requisite physical prowess, which will continue to grow throughout your training, you must not ignore the importance of soft skills. There may be times in the future when you will have to operate in complex contexts involving multiple agencies, where your soft skills and diplomatic abilities will be extremely valuable for achieving your goals. You must provide diplomatic support to ease military tensions as members of the intellectual armed forces of the future.”

During the convocation, the academic report for Spring Term 2022 was presented. Additionally, Professor Pandit awarded medals and trophies to cadets achieving the highest academic performance, including Cadet Sergeant Major Arpit Kumar in the Science stream, Division Cadet Captain Akash Kaswan in the Computer Science stream, Cadet Nishant Sharma in the Arts stream, and Divisional Cadet Captain Amar Upadhyay in the BTech stream.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, will serve as the Reviewing Officer for the NDA’s 143rd passing out parade (POP). After three years of intense, challenging, and arduous training at the academy, the POP marks the end of the academy’s three-year training program.

For Army Cadets, NDA confers BA, BSc and BSC degrees in Computer Science, while for Navy and Air Force Cadets, it confers BTech degrees. In 1974, 160 cadets from the 46th course received their degrees from the JNU during the first convocation of the NDA.

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