MISCELLANEOUS

dated October 11, 1953: First review of India's naval fleet

Independent India's growing Navy made history on the 10th when president Dr. Rajendra Prasad, also Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Defence forces, reviewed in Bombay the fleet in the sea opposite the Gateway of India. He inspected the ships from a special yacht that sailed between the vessels lying at anchor. Twenty-six ships, including the Cruiser INS Delhi, destroyers, frigates, mine-sweepers, survey vessels, the training ship Dufferin, and four mercantile ships, assembled for the occasion, were gaily decorated flying multi-coloured flags from stem to stem. A variety of dockyard craft were also on view in the naval anchorage. President Prasad, accompanied by the Prime Minister, the Governor of Bombay, and the Minister for Defence, arrived at the Gateway at 9-15 a.m. and was received by the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy, Vice-Admiral Sir Mark Pizey and the Commodore-in-Charge, Bombay Commodore Taylor. The President inspected a guard of honour which paraded the President's colours which had been presented to the Navy by the President in Bombay in 1951.

The President then proceeded to the main steps and embarked in the President's yacht. As soon as the yacht left the Gateway steps, the President's salute of 31 guns was fired by the naval ships. The President's yacht was led by the barge of Bombay's Commodore-in-Chief, and followed by other launches carrying the Commander-in-Chiefs of the Army and the Air Force, the Chief Minister of Bombay, and Ministers of the Central and Bombay Governments. At 9-30 a.m. the President's yacht entered the review lines passing between the dockyard craft and the first line of naval ships. The officers and men of each ship were drawn up in a single line all along the guard rails; as the President's yacht came abreast of each ship, the officers and men gave the President three cheers by shouting, "Rashtrapati ki Jai".

The review took place in the following order: the I.N.S. Sutlej, a frigate converted into a survey ship, equipped with instruments for measuring water-depth and for preparing charts and maps of the coastline and sea routes for the safe navigation; the Navy's ships Rohilkhand, Konkan, Madras and Bombay, all ocean min-sweepers and that escorted convoys of merchantmen during war; and Magar, a tank-landing ship which, for the Presidential review, had been made to function as a grandstand for families of the ratings to witness the impressive ceremonial.