Society

A spectacular glimpse of what’s to come at Indian Navy’s two major events in Visakhapatnam

Sailors and cadets man the rails of training sail ship INS Tarangini as the Presidential Yacht passes by at the Fleet Review rehearsal as part of the preparations for Presidential Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Sailors and cadets man the rails of training sail ship INS Tarangini as the Presidential Yacht passes by at the Fleet Review rehearsal as part of the preparations for Presidential Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: K R Deepak

The ships are lined up in columns along the Visakhapatnam coast; the Beach Road wears a sparkling new look with every nook and corner getting a makeover. It is a grand spectacle in the coastal city as Visakhapatnam gears up to host two major events — the Presidential Fleet Review (PFR) to be held on February 21 and MILAN Naval Exercise that will be held from February 24 to March 4.

Families, photography enthusiasts and artists will be among the thousands of people expected to gather at the Beach Road to witness the events.

About 50 ships and an equal number of aircraft will participate in the PFR. In the run-up to the events, R K Beach has been witnessing rehearsals in full swing.

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

Ban Nanda, a photography enthusiast, plans to spend as long as he can on the beach road taking it all in. “It’s an incredible opportunity to witness the action from the coast, see all the ships together in a formation — you never see anything like this,” he says. Armed with his camera and lenses, Nanda has been shooting the rehearsals in the late afternoons and evenings in eager anticipation of the main event days. In 2016 when Visakhapatnam hosted the International Fleet Review, Nanda's panel of 20 images won him an international award. "I am equally excited to capture the action this time as well. It is a big opportunity to be in Visakhapatnam during this time of the year to witness two major events of the Indian Navy one after the other," says Nanda.

The history
Commemorating 75 years of independence, the theme of PFR 22 is ‘Indian Navy – 75 years in Service of the Nation’.
So far, 11 PFRs, including two International Fleet Reviews, were hosted by the Indian Navy.
The first Presidential Fleet Review in India was hosted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 10 October 1953.
PFR usually takes place once in the President's term.
The PFR lineup includes the ‘review anchorage’, the ‘steampast’ and ‘flypast’ by mobile columns, the ‘parade of sails’, and the release of a first day cover and a commemorative stamp.

Dentist and photography enthusiast Suresh Gorantla has been waking up before sunrise for the past one week to capture what he describes as "spectacular scenes" of the sun rising over the coast with the magnificent ships in the foreground. One of his best shots is a sun rising over INS Tarangini, the first sail training ship of the Indian Navy. "I took my time to get the best possible view of the sunrise over the ship. It wasn't a perfectly clear morning. I drove down to the Naval Coastal Battery to get the exact composition I had framed in my mind," says Suresh.

 Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

The skies have been hazy for a while now, but that did not deter 75-year-old K Bhaskar Rao from lugging around his huge lenses in an attempt to capture the best possible view of Sumitra, the Presidential yacht, on Friday morning when the full rehearsals of the PFR was held. Standing on an elevation of a high-rise building on the Beach Road, Bhaskar Rao spent two hours focusing his lenses on the Presidential Yacht, in which the President will review all participating ships by ‘steaming past’ them. His friend Gadu Satyanarayana is excited about the PFR for a different reason. A member of the Numismatic and Philatelic Society of Visakhapatnam, he has been collecting all the commemorative stamps of PFR through the years. “I am looking forward to add the PFR 2022 commemorative stamp to my collection,” he adds.

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

Many families living in the city got their first glimpse of the supreme might of the Indian Navy with events like these. Swapnil and Priti Patil, who moved to the city a couple of years ago, plan to bring their children out for an evening when the rehearsals are in full swing to get a close look of the events. "It is a very rare opportunity to witness all the Indian Naval warships, submarines, auxiliary vessels lined up along the coast. It is like watching a film on Naval warfare! Especially, for the children it is a great inspiration to be able to witness how advanced our armed forces are and the role they play," says Swapnil.

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

Artist Anita Rao remembers recreating the entire action of the International Fleet Review of 2016 on the walls of a cafe in Visakhapatnam. "Initially I had made a dramatic skyline and left it at that. The next day after watching the IFR demonstration I changed the idea and brought in other elements in the art work," says Anita, who is presently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Andhra University. The cafe wall soon came alive with the Marine Commandos (Marcos) giving a demonstration on anti-terrorist operation, a search-and-rescue drill, and a skydivers carrying the Indian tri-colour flag. Being a retired Naval officer's wife, Anita is quite familiar with various facets of the Indian Navy. "But Visakhapatnam shoreline offers a view, which no other coastal city offers. If you have access to the rooftop of an apartment on the Beach Road, all you need is a binocular to get a spectacular view. We are blessed to be able to witness the events from close quarters due to the proximity of the shoreline to the coast," says Anita.

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu

Beach assault by marine commandos as part of rehearsals for Exercise MILAN, Navy’s largest exercise that will bring together over 35 countries, in Visakhapatnam. Photo : K.R. DEEPAK / The Hindu | Photo Credit: KR Deepak

After the PFR, Milan will be held in Visakhapatnam from February 25 to March 4, during which over 40 friendly Navies are expected to participate. Held every two years in India, it is an exercise that was initiated in 1995. The theme for this year’s show is ‘Camaraderie, Cohesion and Collaboration.’


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Feb 18, 2022 9:55:18 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/society/a-spectacular-glimpse-of-whats-to-come-at-indian-navys-two-major-events-in-visakhapatnam/article65061789.ece