India’s maritime defence might was on full display as President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday conducted the Fleet Review off the Visakhapatnam coast in Bay of Bengal.
Sailing on the indigenously designed Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel INS Sumitra, designated as the Presidential Yacht, President Kovind sailed past 44 ships anchored in four columns in the Bay of Bengal and received the ceremonial salute from each of them.
The theme of the President’s Fleet Review-2022 was ‘Indian Navy – 75 years in Service of the Nation’, commemorating the Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
The crew of each ship presented a salute with the traditional ‘Three Jais’, a symbolic act called “Man and Cheer Ship,” in a demonstration of the unconditional allegiance of Navy personnel to the country and the Supreme Commander.
The President was accompanied by First Lady Savita Kovind, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief of Defence Staff General M M Naravane, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta and other officials onboard the Presidential Yacht.
The President’s Fleet Review 2022 provided an insight into the Indian fleet’s strength, capability and also the unity of purpose.
Along the ships, there was a Parade of Sails, comprising two Laser Bahia, six Enterprise Class and six Indian Naval Sailing Vessels Mhadei, Tarini, Bulbul, Hariyal, Kadalpura and Neelkanth.
Rescue divers conducted ‘combat jumps’ from the Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-I, demonstrating a quick rescue using a Rescue Basket.
The ALH from the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 322 in Kochi, known as the Guardians, is used in disaster relief, humanitarian aid and rescue operations.
Two Hawks from the INAS 551, known as Phantoms, performed tactical manoeuvres in Viper formation, while Naval aircraft, including Chetak, Dhruv, Seaking and Dornier, conducted a composite fly-past.
As part of the Fleet Review, the President reviewed the mobile submarine column that included INS Vela, a recently-inducted Made in India Kalvari class submarine.
Marine Commandos (Marcos) from the Special Operations unit INS Karna on the eastern seaboard, then performed combat free-fall water jumps from the Para Dornier aircraft over a designated drop zone from a height of 6,000 feet.
Displaying immaculate skill, the Marcos completed precise landings in a sequence in close proximity to the Presidential Yacht.
On completion of the review, the President returned to base with a ceremonial piping of the side, followed by a 21 Gun Salute.
The Navy noted that the last decade has witnessed India’s dependence on maritime environment expanding substantially as its economic, military and technological strength grew, global interactions widened and the national security imperatives and political interests stretched gradually beyond the Indian Ocean Region.
“There seems little doubt that the 21st century will be the ‘Century of the Seas’ for India and that the seas will remain a key enabler in its global resurgence,” the Navy observed.