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India’s Naval Might in Full Display at President Kovind’s Fleet Review

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Feb 22:

President Ram Nath Kovind conducted the review of the Indian Navy’s fleet (PFR-2022) off the Visakhapatnam coast in the Bay of Bengal in which India’s maritime defence might was on full display on Monday.
Sailing on the indigenously designed Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel INS Sumitra, designated as the Presidential Yacht, Kovind sailed past 44 ships anchored in four columns in the Bay of Bengal and received the ceremonial salute from each of them. The theme of the President’s Fleet Review-2022 was Indian Navy 75 years in Service of the Nation’, commemorating the Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav(75 years of Indpendence), an Indian Navy release stated.
The crew of each ship presented a salute with the traditional ‘Three Jais’, a symbolic act called “Man and Cheer Ship,” in a demonstration of the unconditional allegiance of Navy personnel to the country and the Supreme Commander.
The President was accompanied by First Lady Savita Kovind, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief of Defence Staff General M M Naravane, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command(ENC) Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta and other officials on board the Presidential Yacht.
Along with the ships, there was a Parade of Sails, comprising two Laser Bahia, six Enterprise Class, and six Indian Naval Sailing Vessels Mhadei, Tarini, Bulbul, Hariyal, Kadalpura, and Neelkanth. Rescue divers conducted ‘combat jumps’ from the Advanced Light Helicopter(ALH) Mk-I, demonstrating a quick rescue using a Rescue Basket. The President also reviewed the mobile submarine column that included INS Vela, a recently-inducted Made in India Kalvari class submarine.
The ALH from the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 322 in Kochi, are known as the “Guardians”, used in disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and rescue operations. Two Hawks from the INAS 551, known as “Phantoms”, performed tactical manoeuvres in Viper formation, while Naval aircraft, including Chetak, Dhruv, Seaking, and Dornier, conducted a composite fly-past.
Marine Commandos (Marcos) from the Special Operations unit INS Karna on the eastern seaboard, performed combat free-fall water jumps from the Para Dornier aircraft over a designated drop zone from a height of 6,000 feet. Displaying immaculate skill, the Marcos completed precise landings in a sequence in close proximity to the Presidential Yacht. On completion of the review, the President returned to base with ceremonial piping of the side, followed by a 21 Gun Salute.
On the occasion, the President said that India believes in ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ to focus on cooperative measures for sustainable use of oceans. He said that a large part of global trade flows through the Indian Ocean Region(IOR). Safety of the seas and of the maritime commons, therefore, remains a critical requirement. 
The President noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Navy has been providing aid to friendly nations by supplying medicines and evacuating stranded Indian citizens and foreign nationals in different parts of the world under ‘Mission SAGAR’ and ‘Samudra Setu’. The effective deployment of the Indian Navy in times of crisis has underscored India’s vision of being the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ and ‘First Responder’ in the IOR.
The headquarters of the ENC of the Indian Navy located at Vizag had made a glorious contribution during the 1971 Indo-Park war. The ENC was instrumental in the naval blockade of the then East Pakistan and the sinking of Pakistan’s submarine ‘Ghazi’. It was a decisive blow to Pakistan and the 1971 war remains one of the most emphatic victories in our history, he added. 
He noted that about 70 percent of the contents of several warships and submarines under construction in various public and private shipyards across the country are indigenous. Soon indigenously built aircraft carrier, ‘Vikrant’ will join the service. This is an impressive contribution to the making of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’(self-reliant India).
As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, every President of India reviews the Indian Naval Fleet once during his five-year tenure and PFR-22 was the 12th edition. The PFR is aimed at assuring the country of the Indian Navy’s preparedness, high morale, and discipline.
This was the second time that Visakhapatnam hosted the PFR, the first being in the year 2006 by the then President of India APJ Abdul Kalam. In 2016, the then President Pranab Mukherjee inspected the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, popularly called the City of Destiny.

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