Saswat Singhdeo

In the year 1976, when three 17-year-old young and bright lads were undergoing training together at the National Defence Academy(NDA), little did they know that one day they will serve the nation together as heads of the armed forces.

After taking charge as Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane has joined his batchmates Admiral Karambir Singh who is the Chief of Naval Staff and Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, Chief of Air Staff.

While Admiral Singh took charge as the Navy chief on May 31, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria joined as Indian Air Force Chief on September 30.

After completion of their three-year course at NDA, all of them went to their respective service academies before getting commissioned as officers in June-July 1980.

“It’s extremely rare for three NDA course-mates to become chiefs of their respective services because there are so many permutations and combinations involved like date of birth, career progression, merit, seniority and, of course, plain and simple luck,” a senior officer said to The Times of India.

The officer added that Admiral Singh and Lt-Gen Naravane were friends before joining NDA since they had studied for some years in the same school. While Admiral Singh was in the “Hunter” squadron, ACM Bhadauria and Lt-Gen Naravane were in the “Lima” squadron at NDA.

Earlier in the day, senior editor of India Today, Shiv Aroor also took to Twitter to mention about this rare coincidence, where all three chiefs happen to be sons of IAF personnel.

On Tuesday, General Naravane took charge as Chief of Army Staff succeeding General Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed India’s first Chief of the Defence Staff.

In a similar instance, General SF Rodriques, Admiral L Ramdas and ACM NC Suri, who were course-mates from NDA attended the passing out parade of the 81st course of NDA in December 1991.