Two dull grey state-of-the-art stealth frigates of the Shivalik Class of the Indian Navy – INS Shivalik and INS Satpura – glowed on the Naval Dockyard here on Friday.
Adding colour to the Naval personnel of the two ships who turned out in their ceremonial best were the personnel from two highly decorated Indian cavalry regiments Scinde Horse in blues with red sashes and 7th Cavalry in traditional khaki. The occasion was the ceremony for affiliation of INS Shivalik with 7th Cavalry Regiment and INS Satpura with Scinde Horse Regiment.
Presiding over the occasion was Colonel Commandant of the two Armoured Corps regiments Lt. Gen. A. K. Singh, General Officer Commanding in Chief Southern Army Command. Commissioned in 7th Cavalry, Lt. Gen. Singh commanded both 7th Cavalry Regiment as well as Scinde Horse. While the 7th Cavalry has a 228-year history of gallantry, the Scinde Horse is the only 175-year-old regiment to carry the name of a province in Pakistan.
Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Chopra played the host. Interestingly, Vice Admiral Chopra was commanding INS Rajput when it became the first ship to be affiliated to an Indian Army regiment when in 1990 it was affiliated to the Rajput Regiment. He was also the Commanding Officer of INS Viraat when it was affiliated to the Garwhal Regiment.
Affiliation is a lifelong association generating a sense of brotherhood, loyalty and belonging. It provides an opportunity to understand each other’s capabilities and limitations. It is a symbol of inter-services camaraderie that goes a long way in execution of combined operations and interdependence in modern warfare, Gen. Singh explained.
“Each of the Naval frigates are worth some Rs.2,500 crore, whereas all the equipment of the armoured regiment would amount to Rs.100 crore. Don’t worry, we will make up for the balance amount with our bravery,” he said. The bonhomie and synergy was visible in the unique combined Ceremonial Guard of 24 men on each ship -- comprising 16 from Navy and eight from Army -- their movements were well synchronised. This perhaps is the only time that a combined ceremonial honour guard assembled outside of New Delhi.
The ceremony began with the inspection of the combined Army-Navy Ceremonial Guard onboard the two ships, first by Lt. Gen. A.K. Singh and later by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra. The formal Charters of Affiliation were exchanged between Commanding Officer of INS Shivalik Captain Rajesh Pendharkar and Commanding Officer of 7th Cavalry Colonel Sumit Rana and CO of INS Satpura Captain Sharat Mohan and CO of Scinde Horse Colonel Ranvijay Singh. Rear Admiral Ajit Kumar P and a large number of officers of the Army and Navy were also present.