Marine Drive plays host to veterans march

Marching with pride: Veterans of the Navy, Army and Air Force at Marine Drive on Sunday.

Marching with pride: Veterans of the Navy, Army and Air Force at Marine Drive on Sunday.  


12 gallantry award winners, two war veterans on wheelchairs among participants

Marine Drive on Sunday played host to India’s first tri-service veterans march, an idea that came about three weeks ago, but initially faced apprehension and resistance.

Held in the run-up to Veterans Day on January 14, the march saw participation from retired personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force. They were joined by 50 members of the National Cadet Corps, 150 of the Sea Cadet Corps and a team of Mumbai Police’s commando unit. Two senior war veterans on wheelchairs and 12 gallantry award winners also participated.

January 14 also marks the day when the first commander-in-chief of Indian Army, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, who led the Indian forces to victory in the 1947 War, hung his uniform in 1953.

The march was the brainchild of Commander (retd.) Vijay Vadhera, president, Mumbai chapter, Navy Foundation, which has 1,222 retired naval officers as members.

Three weeks ago, Cdr. Vadhera, who thought of the march after having been witness to one in Melbourne while visiting his daughter, broached the topic with the western naval command headquarters. “It was first met with resistance and apprehension. Many thought time was short and the Navy had more pressing issues at hand. I however convinced them and took charge,” said Cdr. Vadhera, who next found himself spending three-and-a-half-hours waiting to meet the Police Commissioner for permission.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Sanjay Barve had not just granted permission but also issued directions to the police commandos and police band to participate. “My wait was satisfying. The Commissioner got up to salute after hearing my concept note. This will become an annual event,” Cdr. Vadhera said.

The march commenced from NCPA up to Princess Street flyover. It was led by Naval/Sea Cadet Corps bands and cheered by cadets holding national flags manning the flanks. Committee members took the lead, followed by the Navy Foundation contingent, Army Veterans contingent and the Air Force Veterans contingent. The police band was in tow.

“The ultimate aim of the parade was to make this auspicious event popular amongst all veterans’ foundations to create awareness amongst our countrymen. In fact, since we had alerted hotels along Marine Drive, a lot of their foreign guests too lined up to cheer us,” Cdr. Vadhera said, promising a better show next year.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 1:52:54 AM |

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