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Updated: December 10, 2009 20:22 IST

After touching skies, President may go underwater

PTI
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In this November 25, 2009 photo President Pratibha Patil waves after flying on a Sukhoi-30MKI of the Indian Air Force at the Lohegaon Air Force base in Pune. Photo: PTI
PTI In this November 25, 2009 photo President Pratibha Patil waves after flying on a Sukhoi-30MKI of the Indian Air Force at the Lohegaon Air Force base in Pune. Photo: PTI

After she took to the skies in an IAF Sukhoi fighter jet, President Pratibha Patil may have an underwater odyssey amid plans to set sail this month-end on INS Viraat, India's sole aircraft carrier, which just turned 50.

While the date was being firmed up by the Navy and the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials for December 28, official sources said on Thursday the President, after reviewing the Navy's Western fleet in Mumbai, will leave for Nilayam in Hyderabad for her annual winter retreat.

This visit will also give the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces an opportunity to get a first hand view of the Navy's preparedness in coastal security after the Mumbai terror attacks last year, the sources said.

Ms. Patil is unlikely to spend a night on board the aircraft carrier which crossed the golden jubilee milestone on November 18. The service life of the aircraft carrier is expected to last till 2015, nearly 15 years over and above its

life span of 40 years.

The President's sea sojourn comes barely a month after Ms. Patil took to skies in IAF's frontline fighter aircraft — Sukhoi 30MKI. She went up to the height of over 8,000 feet as a co-pilot in the plane which was commandeered by Wing

Commander S. Sajjan of Pune-based 30 'Rhinos' squadron.

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