Patil Is First Woman President To Sail In WarshipMumbai, Dec 20: After taking off in the frontline Sukhoi jet and riding a battle tank, President Pratibha today had a tryst with the Navy as she created history by sailing a warship here to
Mumbai, Dec 20: After taking off in the frontline Sukhoi jet and riding a battle tank, President Pratibha today had a tryst with the Navy as she created history by sailing a warship here to review an impressive naval steampast.
77-year-old Patil, who reviewed a Naval fleet of 81 ships and 44 aircraft, said the Navy's dominance in the region is set to grow with the induction of an aircraft carrier, new submarines and destroyers.
“The Navy today is poised to achieve new milestones with the imminent induction of aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, the Kolkata class stealth destroyers, the follow-on frigates of the Talwar class, the indigenous ASW corvettes and an impressive number of submarines and aircraft.
“Today, the Indian Navy is one of the most capable in the region and with its well thought out modernisation plans, is destined to grow even further,” Patil said while addressing Naval officers and personnel onboard INS Subhadra, a naval off shore patrol vessel.
Patil, who was secured by the elite marine commandos (Marcos) and snipers on the ship, wore a Navy cap as she took salute from different class of ships and aircrafts of the Navy during the over two-hour ‘Presidential Fleet Review' ceremony.
A fleet review is conducted once in the tenure of aPresident to showcase to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and the country, the naval prowess and its strike capabilities.
“Safeguarding of our maritime borders is a major requirement for the social and economic well being of our country. The oil exploration activities off our coasts and at sea are of significant economic importance.Therefore, the protection of our coast our ‘sea lines of communications' and the offshore development areas is a major pre-requisite of our nation's development.These are major roles for the Indian Navy,” Patil said in her address.
The President was accompanied by Defence Minister A K Antony, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, the Maharashtra Governor, the three service chiefs and four cabinet ministers on-board the warship.
The review began at 0900 hours with a 150-men Guard of Honour and customary 21-gun salute accorded to Patil.
Patil began the review by first sailing past the INS Agray- an anti-submarine patrol vessel- as the sailors took off their caps and hailed their Supreme Commander with the shouts of ‘Rashtrapati ki Jai'.
The President, in response, stood up and saluted each of the ships. The last to salute the President was country's lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
The Navy also offered a brief glimpse of its air power by flying its fighter, transport and surveillance aircraft.
“The Indian Navy has grown in strength and stature over the last decade. The launch of nuclear submarine Arihant, and induction of the indigenously built Shivalik class frigates are a reflection of the capability of our shipyards and technological competence of our personnel,” she said.
Patil said India is a maritime nation, with significant maritime interests and alive to many security challenges.
“A preponderant proportion of our overseas trade is through the sea routes.Our nation is surrounded by water bodies on three sides. This gives us an inherent geographical advantage, but it also poses numerous security challenges,” she said.
The President also talked about anti-piracy operations conducted by the Navy in high seas.
“Since the menace of piracy surfaced in our maritime neighbourhood, the Indian Navy has been involved in anti-piracy missions and has earned the gratitude of the maritime community and of other natives operating in the region for their efforts,” she said.
“I am aware that with these increased challenges and tasks, our ships are being deployed to the far reaches of the oceans for pro-longed duration.Our officers and sailors have consistently risen to the occasion and displayed the utmost dedication and commitment while working tirelessly in a difficult environment,” she said.
“I congratulate and commend each one of you for this,” she said amidst applause from Navy personnel.
“I am confident that our fleet is fully prepared to meet any challenges that may threaten the maritime security of our nation in the future.
As the Supreme Commander of India's Armed Forces, I am convinced of the capacity and resolve of our Naval personnel.I wish the Indian Navy fair winds, following seas and a glorious future,” she said.
After the fleet review, Patil inaugurated a Naval museum here which displays the history of the water force and of the ship building enterprise.