India's latest batch of gentlemen cadets became officers on Saturday, taking a rain delay in their stride at the Indian Military Academy's Passing out Parade (PoP).
A total of 631 Indian Gentleman Cadets were commissioned as officers in the Indian Army after taking the famed "final step" at the Drill Square set against the historic Chetwode Building of the IMA.
The PoP for the 132nd Regular course, 21st Technical Entry Scheme and 115 Technical Graduate Scheme also saw 74 foreign cadets from friendly countries earn their stripes to join the armies of their respective countries as officers.
Rains lashed the Premnagar area of Dehradun around 6.30am and again around 6.50am, leading to a rare delay in the PoP, which began at 8.15am.
Watched by proud parents and relatives, the gentlemen cadets marched in full glory, with Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne taking the ceremonial salute. IMA Commandant Lieutenant General Manvender Singh was also present on the occasion.
Browne - who was brought in a four-horse drawn regal Patiala Coach given to the IMA by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupender Singh, in 1969 - told the cadets the bonds of camaraderie forged at the academy would grow stronger. "Leadership is a gift given to you by those who follow you."
Siddhant Suhag of Haryana was presented the prestigious sword of honour awarded to the best all-round gentleman cadet. The gold medal for standing first in order of merit in the Regular Course was presented to Vikash Kumar. Abdul Samim from Afghanistan bagged best all-round foreign cadet award.
A maximum of 112 officers are from Uttar Pradesh, followed by Haryana (60), Uttarakhand (52), Maharashtra (39), Rajasthan (37) and Punjab (36).
This was the largest batch of foreign cadets till date at the IMA.
The pipping ceremony (where stars on an officer's uniform are unveiled) was shifted to the Somnath Stadium due to the rains. Glowing with pride, parents removed the covers off the stars earned by their children after completing the rigorous IMA course.
In the Kasam Parade later, the officers took the pledge to serve the motherland.
The IMA, which trains gentlemen cadets for induction into the Indian army, was set up in 1932 with a total of 40 cadets. Field Marshal Lord Philip Chetwode had delivered the inaugural address at the Chetwode Building.
A total of 53,571 cadets have been commissioned into the Indian army since the inception of the IMA. A total of 825 officers have been martyred in the line of duty.