VISAKHAPATNAM: Might of the Indian Navy along with other world navies was on full display at the International Fleet Review 2016 (IFR-16), reviewed by President and Supreme Commander of Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee in the Bay of Bengal off Visakhapatnam on Saturday. Pranab said that the IFR had showcased the prowess of the Indian Navy.
Sailing in INS Sumitra, the Presidential Yacht, Pranab Mukherjee reviewed the anchored columns of 71 frontline ships and submarines from the Indian Navy and also those from foreign navies. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, along with the chiefs of tri-services of India. Chief Justice TS Thakur, Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other dignitaries, were present.
Dressed in their ceremonial best, the ships decked up in full regalia manned by smartly dressed navy men doffed their caps and saluted the President. Following it, a mobile column of the naval ships streamed past the Presidential Yacht. It was an awe inspiring sight and a moment of pride for the Indian Navy, as many of its indigenously built naval ships and submarines were present among the columns of ships.
INS Vikramaditya, the premier aircraft carrier and flagship of the Indian Navy, along with the soon-to-be decommissioned INS Viraat, warships of Godavari Class, Shivalik Class, Kamorta Class, Delhi Class and Kolkata Class, and Sindhughosh Class of submarines, showcased the naval might of the country, filling every Indian witnessing them with a sense of pride. Upon decommissioning, INS Viraat is likely to be permanantly anchored here and turned into a maritime museum.
Dazzling flypast by the naval air-arm was a breathtaking display and the aircraft that flew past the Presidential Yacht included Chetak and Seaking 42 Bravo helicopters, MiG 29K, Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft-P8I and Sea Harriers among others. Display of search and rescue missions by the Chetaks and ALH Dhruv received huge applause from people witnessing the event besides the dramatic entry of the Indian Navy’s elite force - MARCOS (Marine Commandos) who zoomed past the Presidential Column.
Speaking after reviewing the fleet, Pranab Mukherjee said around 50 friendly Navies have sailed across oceans to participate in the first IFR on the east coast of India. “Navies world over have conducted fleet reviews to symbolise their loyalty, allegiance to the other nations and also to strengthen the bonds, IFR-2016 has reassured that the world is united through oceans,” the President said. He further felt that the event had brought together the Navies across the world, signifying the common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship to develop partnership for a secure maritime future.
Earlier on his arrival at the Naval Dockyard on Saturday morning, the President inspected a 150-man ceremonial Guard of Honour and received a 21-gun salute, before embarking on the Presidential Yacht for the Fleet Review. This is the 11th fleet review after independence and the second IFR being conducted in India.