VISAKHAPATNAM: India on Thursday emerge a major display of maritime potency, with ships from 50 navies converging on the country’s east coast.
Ninety ships along with from the US, French, British and Chinese navies are taking part in the International Fleet Review in the Bay of Bengal — a ceremonial inspection and parade of boats and crews.
A fleet review is a liturgical and stately inspection of naval warships by the supreme commander of the armed forces, President Pranab Mukherjee.
President Pranab Mukherjee will commence on Presidential yacht, INS Sumitra after go through the guard of honour which will be presented by 150 naval personnel on February 6.
This is the second time an IFR is being held in India, the last being held off Mumbai in 2001 when APJ Abdul Kalam was the president. Twenty-nine countries had engage in that event.
“Glad that the theme for this year’s International Fleet Review, is ‘United through Oceans.’ The seas unite and build up people-to-people ties,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian presidents have since reviewed Indian Navy fleets twice, in 2006, and 2011. The Indian Navy fleet for the IFR will constitute of over 75 frontline ships and submarines.
The president will also review the Indian Naval air arm. Also featuring will be a flypast led by Rear Admiral P.K. Bahl, Flag Officer Naval Aviation and comprising 15 pattern of 45 aircraft, including two formations from the Indian Coast Guard.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the gathering on Sunday and also discharge a book on India’s maritime legacy. There will also be a Make in India exhibition to showcase “modernization, indigenisation and likely of the youth”.
The display will advertise navy’s latest acquisitions such as the carrier-borne MIG 29K pummel-fighter, the P8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and the KM-31 AEW helicopter.
Indian Navy chief Robin K Dhowan, who is hosting the event, said the review would increase naval cooperation, with the “safety, stability and the security” of the oceans a “collective responsibility”.
Defence minister Manohar Parikar, Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narasimham, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Closet ministers, state Cabinet ministers and chief ministers of more than 10 states, all chiefs of armed forces, Chief of naval staffs, retired chief of staffs and a host of delegates across the country will also take part in the fleet review.