President of India Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has expressed satisfaction over the preparedness and combat readiness of the Indian Navy, in Visakhpatnam, on February 21.
He was here to review the Indian fleet as part of the Presidential Fleet Review (PFR), which is held once during the President’s term in office.
Addressing the sailors and officers of the Indian Navy after the PFR, he said, “The excellent parade of ships, aircraft and submarines showcased the professional competence and determination of the maritime services of the nation. The parade also showcased the preparedness of the Indian Navy for any contingency.”
Talking about the significance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the navy’s role, he said, “A large part of global trade flows through this region and a significant portion of our trade and energy needs are met through the oceans.”
“Safety of the seas and of the maritime commons, therefore, remains a critical requirement. The Indian Navy’s constant vigil, prompt response to incidents and untiring efforts have been highly successful in this regard,” he said.
The President also expressed satisfaction on the increasing self-reliance and the idea of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. He pointed out that about 70% of the contents of several warships and submarines under construction in various public and private shipyards across the country were indigenous and said it was a matter of great pride that the country had built nuclear submarines.
He also expressed happiness on the progress of indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which will come into service shortly. Mr. Kovind also highlighted the Indian Navy’s role in engaging a large number of other navies through bilateral and multi-lateral exercises.
“The aim is to enhance interoperability, gain from best practices, develop common understanding and build mutual confidence to address maritime issues,” he said.
He also wished the forthcoming Milan-2022, which is scheduled from February 25 to March 4 in Visakhapatnam, a success. The President also lauded the efforts of the Indian Navy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Humanitarian operations such as Mission Sagar and Samudra Setu have made the Indian Navy the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ and ‘First Responder’ in the Indian Ocean Region.
Presidential Fleet Review
Earlier, the Presidential Yacht, carrying the President, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar and other dignitaries sailed past four columns of 44 (11 in each column) warships of different classes, as part of the fleet review.
The lead ship in the review was the navy’s latest indigenously-built acquisition INS Visakhapatnam, the Visakhapatnam-class stealth guided-missile destroyer and the biggest ship was INS Jalashwa, an amphibious transport dock. The Indian Navy’s pride INS Tarangini and INS Sudarshini, the sail ships, were the first two ships in the first column.
The other new asset of the navy that made heads turn was INS Vela, one among the first batch of the six Kalvari-class submarines, which are otherwise also called as the Scorpene class.
Vela was there with INS Sindhukirti and INS Sindhuraj, the Sindhughosh-class of diesel-electric submarines. The sleek frame of INS Vela stood out.
Highlights of the show
But the highlights of the show were the daring aerobatic display by the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawks and the search and rescue demonstration by the indigenously built Advance Light Helicopter (ALH Mark-3).
The flypast was complete with formation flying by helicopters such as Chetaks, ALH, Sea Kings and KAMOVs and aircrafts such as Dorniers, IL-38SD, P8I, Hawks and MiG 29K. About 55 aircrafts participated in the flypast and aerobatics. Six Marine Commandos also showcased water para jumps.