New Delhi: For the first time in its history, the passing out parade at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) took place without the parents of Gentleman Cadets (GCs) being in attendance-due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-as 423 cadets graduated from the Dehradun-based academy on Saturday. Also Read - Passing out parade held at police training college in north Delhi

Also Read - Passing out parade of IMA held in Dehradun

Of the 423 GCs, while 333 will now join the Indian Army as officers, starting at the rank of Lieutenant, 90 are GCs from nine friendly foreign countries. Also Read - Passing out parade held at Guards Regimental Centre

The chief guest at the passing out parade was Chief of Army Staff, General MM Naravane, who reviewed the parade at the IMA today.

Notably, the parade, which began at 6 AM, also marked the first time it was broadcast on the official YouTube channel of the Army.

Earlier, the decision to not invite parents of the cadets-for the first time-was taken last month in the view of the coronavirus situation in the country. At present, India has the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

At the passing out parade, parents formally pin stars on the cadets’ uniform, marking their transition to an officer from a cadet.

The parade also comes in the middle of ongoing tensions with China in eastern Ladakh, which have now been going on for well over a month.