VISHAKHAPATNAM: The Eastern Naval Command is all geared up to host the International Fleet Review (IFR) in Bay of Bengal off Visakhpatnam coast which begins tomorrow, a mega event that will witness participation from nearly 50 countries.
Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command (ENC) Vice Admiral Satish Soni said the command is fully prepared to conduct the four-day event with participation of foreign and Indian ships and foreign chief of the naval staffs from various countries.
Talking to reporters on Board INS Sumitra after the rehearsal of the IFR yesterday, the Vice Admiral said 50 countries have already confirmed their participation and 90 ships, including 24 warships from foreign countries and 24 foreign naval chiefs will take part in the Fleet review. He said 70 to 75 helicopters of various types, including hawk jet fighters, will exhibit their talent and demonstrate in the Bay of Bengal.
Supreme Commander of the armed forces, President Pranab Mukherjee will embark on Presidential yacht, INS Sumitra after inspecting the guard of honour which will be presented by 150 naval personnel on IFR on February 6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parikar, Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimham, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Cabinet 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.
Soni said the VIPs would review the fleet of participating Indian and foreign ships which will be anchored in six columns and the naval personnel standing on anchored ships on both the sides of Sumitra would salute the President in the traditional manner. He said the Indian Navy is organising the event for the first time in the east coast here and second time in the country. The first IFR was organised in Mumbai in 2001.
During the rehearsals yesterday, the helicopters of Indian Navy, coast guard exhibited their talent including the rescue demonstrations by the naval personnel form a Chetak helicopters that thrilled the audiences. The main idea of conducting the IFR is to unite the navies through ocean - the main theme of the Navy, Soni said, adding that the exercise would strengthen the friendship between friendly countries. Vice Admiral Soni inspected the arrangements being made at the beach road. The galleries on beach road accommodate 20,000 spectators and the beach sands 1.5 lakhs people.
According to a statement issued by the ENS, evening of February 7 will witness the operational demonstration followed by the International City Parade which would include marching contingents and bands from the Army, Navy and Air Force and Coast Guard.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the gathering and also release a book on the maritime heritage of India. Chief Minister Naidu tomorrow would lead citizens in paying homage to the martyrs of the 1971 war at the War Memorial in a solemn wreath laying ceremony at RK Beach. He will also inaugurate a maritime exhibition tomorrow, one of the biggest events of its kind which will showcase various entrepreneurs in the maritime domain.
On February 7, a two-day international maritime conference would be inaugurated by Defence Minister Parikkar on the theme 'Partnering together for a secure maritime future', the statement said. The activities of IFR will conclude on the evening of February 8 with a joint international band concert at the naval officers institute followed by a closing ceremony.
City Police Commissioner Amit Garg told reporters on Monday that elaborate security arrangements have been made with 15,000-strong police force deployed at event venues.
Police have prohibited all non-governmental agencies, organisations and individuals launching Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones in the city from January 27 to February 9.