Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 15
Alumni of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (AFPI), Mohali, have bagged top honours in the batch of officers that was commissioned into the IAF at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, near Hyderabad, today.
Flying Officer Gagandeep Singh Dhami, who hails from Hoshiarpur, has the distinction of topping the batch as a fighter pilot while Flying Officer Gagandeep Singh from Gurdaspur has stood second in this stream.
In the helicopter stream, the top two positions were also bagged by AFPI alumni, with Flying Officer Jasmehak Singh of Mohali standing first, followed by Flying Officer Jashan Jaswal of Jalandhar.
Of a total of 152 cadets, including women, who passed out today, five were from the AFPI. The fifth, Flying Officer Ranjit Singh Bains of Pathankot, has been commissioned as a Navigator. The passing out parade was reviewed by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Earlier this month, 15 cadets from the third batch of the AFPI that had passed out from the institute in 2015 after a two-year leadership training programme that included completing their 10+2, were commissioned as officers in the Army at the Indian Military Academy. Besides, 18 cadets from the previous AFPI batches are expected to join the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, and other service academies in July.
A senior training faculty member at AFPI, Brig KD Singh (retd), said the total number of commissioned officers from the first three batches of the institute had touched 55 and the cadets who had been selected for the National Defence Academy and other service academies from the last six batches that have passed out so far was 119.
With a view to arresting the severely depleting contribution of Punjab to the armed forces’ officer cadre, the AFPI was set up by the Punjab Government in 2011 for training boys for joining the armed forces as commissioned officers through the NDA or other service academies. In the olden days, cadets from Punjab used to make up a significant chunk of the academy strength, but over the past few decades, it had trickled down to just six to eight boys in the NDA for each course. This trend now appears to have been reversed.