Show of might at president’s naval fleet review Dec 20December 15th, 2011 - 12:26 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) In a show of grandeur and might, India will hold a naval fleet review for the supreme commander of its armed forces, President Pratibha Patil, Dec 20 off Mumbai when she will sail past an 80-ship flotilla, an officer said Wednesday.
She will be the ninth president to be accorded the honour. The fleet reviews began in 1953 during the tenure of India’s first president, Rajendra Prasad.
The ceremony will also be attended by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, army chief General V.K. Singh and air force chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, a naval officer told reporters here.
The two-and-half-hour ceremony will witness participation of 66 navy warships, including four submarines and the lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat, 10 coast guard vessels, two merchant vessels, a sea cadet vessel and the yacht INS Mhadei, the offer said.
That apart, 44 Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard aircraft will stage a fly past as part of the fleet review. Patil, who will be on the Presidential Yacht INS Subhadra, which will act as the
flagship for the event, will also get a 21-gun salute on the occasion.
The previous presidential fleet review of the Indian Navy was held in February 2006 in Visakhapatnam when A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Only three Indian presidents - Zakir Husain, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and Shankar Dayal Sharma - did not get to review the Indian Navy’s fleet during their tenures.
The warships taking part in the event will include frontline destroyers, stealth frigates, amphibious assault vessels, tankers and missile boats, an officer said.
The main attraction in the fly past by naval and coast guard aircraft will be the newly inducted Russian-origin MiG-29K maritime fighters, which will operate on board the soon-to-be-inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (formerly Russian Navy’s Admiral Gorshkov) that is slated to be inducted in December 2012.
Patil will also release a commemorative stamp and a coffee table book to mark the occasion and inaugurate a maritime heritage exhibition.
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