President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday asked the gentlemen cadets passing out of the Indian Military Academy here to uphold the iconic status accorded to the prestigious institution by its illustrious alumni like CDS General Bipin Rawat, who by sheer hard work had emerged as a role model.

Describing General Rawat as an extraordinary military leader, the president said the void created by his untimely demise can never be filled.

He said the nation is yet to come out of the shock of his untimely death. "...But for the tragedy he would have been here with us looking at the passing out parade with happiness and pride," the president said addressing the passing out parade of the academy's autumn course as the reviewing officer.

India's first CDS Gen Rawat was an alumnus of the IMA and had graduated from here with a Sword of Honour, the most coveted award given to the best gentleman cadet by the academy for overall performance.

Gen Rawat was also scheduled to attend Saturday's event held on a much lower scale as it came just a day after his mortal remains were consigned to flames in New Delhi on Friday.

President Kovind advised the gentlemen cadets commissioned as officers to develop a strategic mindset, adaptive temperament and resilience to take on the challenges they could face as military leaders.

Noting that the security environment at the regional and global level is complex, the president said, "Physical and mental toughness is not enough. As military leaders you must develop a strategic mindset, adaptive temperament and resilience to take on the challenges ahead."

"Your training equips you for the challenges," he said.

A total of 319 gentlemen cadets from India and 68 from friendly foreign countries graduated from the academy and got commissioned into the armies of their respective countries as officers.

Despite being a small state, Uttarakhand has the second highest number of 43 cadets commissioned as army officers after Uttar Pradesh with 45.

Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen (retired) Gurmit Singh and Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami were also present at the event which decided to do away with the usual celebrations held on the occasion in view of Gen Rawat's tragic demise.