It gives me great pleasure to preside over this convocation, which represents the second and, in some ways, the more important aspect of the training imparted at this Academy. I am aware that it is no mean achievement on the part of you young men who have graduated today to have completed a very exacting course, and to have come up to the high standards that are demanded here, in studies, flying, physical, fitness and officer qualities. I would, therefore, like to begin by congratulating you all on your splendid achievement.
You are going off now to take up your tasks which will often be demanding, but for which you will continue to be provided with all the facilities, professional and personal, which the country can afford. Your duty will be to concentrate solely upon defending your country which, you must remember, is now confined only to wartime operations: it consists mainly of providing a full-time guarantee to the nation that it is safe from interference and intimidation to carry on with its tasks and to pursue its goals.
Your goal and your task is, therefore, easily identifiable: it is to ensure that the guarantee you and your soldier and sailor comrades provide should be as solid as you can make it with the means that are available to you. But, as you know, we shall never possess enough in the way of weapons and equipment, of those things that only money can buy: but we do possess one great potential on the totality of means available to us, and that is in our vast and superb human resources. We frequently hear of the need for exploiting human resources but what it really means is a few down-to-earth things such as, exploiting our potential for hard work, ingenuity, concentration and innovation: and bringing into play qualities of courage, leadership, initiative and the like. It is these things which make all the difference to the effectiveness of any equipment, or any weapon system, and it will be your responsibility, as future leaders, to bring out and make the best use of these qualities, both in yourselves and in those working under your command.
To be able to do that, to become good leaders, it will be essential for you to first acquire professional competency, because the kind of leadership you will be required to provide will be that of a professional working in a team with other professionals. To remain at all times on top of your job, and to make a real contribution to your country's defence, you will have to apply yourselves with the greatest dedication to mastering every aspect of your profession, which includes keeping up with all the advances and developments that are constantly taking place all around you in the science and techniques of military aviation.
This is not an easy task for military aviation today is highly complex and demanding. It is built up on subtle concepts and sophisticated techniques so that quite apart from many other requirements, it pre-eminently demands a trained mind possessing a sustained capacity for disciplined intellectual endeavour. It is in this context that these degrees which you have received today have their relevance. They are not meant merely to attest to the knowledge you have gained here, but to the fact that your minds have received here the first phase of training and discipline which will enable you effectively to exercise your intellect in mastering your profession by acquiring more and more knowledge: By understanding and assimilating that knowledge and by applying it to your circumstances to achieve optimum results.
So, today, all at one go, you have become officers, aviators, scientists and decision-makers. This is a great achievement, and I trust it will lead to many more achievements in the future. But at this moment, perhaps, what is foremost in your thoughts is the fact that you have guarantee into the profession of Arms. Today you have become fighters, defenders of the sacred soil of your country, and I am sure that you are very proud of it. You, the new officers of the Pakistan Air Force, are today joining a fraternity of the finest fighting aviators in the world – men who in two wars have proved that, seemingly, overwhelming odds can be overcome, provided you have prepared yourself for the supreme moment with years of painstaking effort at acquiring the highest degree of professional skill and are ready at the supreme moment with all the skill, courage and determination at your command to go forth into battle with confidence and without the slightest hesitation.
I am confident that you will uphold the proud traditions of your forebearers and of the Pakistan Air Force, and add to them a new chapter of heroism should the need ever arise again.
I am sure you all have many adventures ahead of you and I hope you will make the most of all your opportunities. I wish all of you the very best of luck in you future endeavours.