Show­cas­ing In­dia’s Maritime Gran­deur

SP's NavalForces - - PRESIDENT’S FLEET REVIEW - —Lt Gen­eral (Retd) Naresh Chand with in­puts from Rear Ad­mi­ral (Retd) Sushil Ram­say

While the In­dian Navy dis­played its strength and wares to the Supreme Com­man­der of the De­fence Forces dur­ing the Pres­i­dent’s Fleet Re­view, Pres­i­dent Prat­i­bha De­vis­ingh Patil also ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the fleet would meet any chal­lenge that may threaten the maritime se­cu­rity of the coun­try in fu­ture sub­marines by steam­ing past them. As the Pres­i­dent passed by, the crew of par­tic­i­pat­ing ships and sub­marines manned the side in white uni­form. White caps are doffed in uni­son in salu­ta­tion as the Pres­i­den­tial Yacht steams past. The sound of three ‘Jais’ echoed over the waves, car­ry­ing the prom­ises of al­le­giance and com­mit­ment of each and ev­ery crew mem­ber to the Pres­i­dent and the na­tion. For the first time in the his­tory of the PFR, a war­ship-car­ry­ing an In­dian Army of­fi­cer par­tic­i­pated. INS Kesari saluted the Pres­i­dent with Lt Gen­eral Naresh Mar­wah, Com­man­der-in-Chief of the tri- ser­vice An­daman and Ni­co­bar Com­mand. This is the bond that car­ries them through var­i­ous chal­lenges in war and peace. This was fol­lowed by a fly past of Naval and Coast Guard air­craft.

All three di­men­sions of the In­dian Navy, ships of the In­dian Coast Guard and the Ship­ping Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia were on parade. In ad­di­tion to ships and sub­marines at the re­view an­chor­age, ships of 22nd mis­sile ves­sel and 23rd pa­trol ves­sel squadron steamed past the Pres­i­den­tial Yacht, in­clud­ing a fly past by 44 air­craft (of dif­fer­ent types) of the In­dian Navy and the In­dian Coast Guard. The fly-past was led by the newly in­ducted MiG-29K fight­ers and fol­lowed by he­li­copters and sur­veil­lance air­craft of the Navy and Coast Guard.

Ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing at the end of the 120-minute dis­play, the Pres­i­dent ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the fleet would meet any chal­lenge that may threaten the maritime se­cu­rity of the coun­try in fu­ture. “The In­dian Navy has grown in strength and stature over the last decade. The launch of the nu­clear sub­ma­rine Arihant, and in­duc­tion of the in­dige­nously built Shiva­lik class frigates are a re­flec­tion of the ca­pa­bil­ity of our ship­yards and tech­no­log­i­cal com­pe­tence of our per­son­nel. The Navy, to­day, is poised to achieve new mile­stones with the im­mi­nent in­duc­tion of the air­craft car­rier Vikra­ma­ditya, the Kolkata class stealth de­stroy­ers, the fol­low-on frigates of the Tal­war Class, the in­dige­nous anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare Corvettes and an im­pres­sive num­ber of sub­marines and air­craft. To­day, the In­dian Navy is one of the most ca­pa­ble in the re­gion and with its well thought out mod­erni­sa­tion plans, is des­tined to grow even fur­ther. Be­sides men­tion­ing the con­ven­tional chal­lenges for a coun­try that de­pends heav­ily on sea for its trade, she also men­tioned about the emerg­ing threat from piracy that has led the In­dian Navy to take an ac­tive role in anti-piracy mis­sions since 2008. The Pres­i­dent also re­leased a com­mem­o­ra­tive stamp and a cof­fee ta­ble book to mark the oc­ca­sion and in­au­gu­rated a maritime her­itage ex­hi­bi­tion.

The Pres­i­dent’s Fleet Re­views are show­piece oc­ca­sions for the Navy—a chance to dis­play their wares to the Supreme Com­man­der and thereby to the na­tion. Con­sid­er­ing that navies usu­ally op­er­ate be­yond the gaze of the peo­ple they serve, the fleet re­views give them a chance to con­nect with their coun­try­men al­beit in a mil­i­tary cer­e­mo­nial frame­work.

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