President reviews naval fleet

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On board INS Sunayna, Feb 6 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday inspected an International Fleet Review (IFR) which had on full display India’s naval might and brought together navies from across the globe along Indian shores underscoring peace and cooperation rather than conflict.

The International Fleet Review (IFR) off Visakhapatnam coast brought together “navies from across the globe here on Indian shores, signifying the common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship”, President Mukherjee said after inspecting the review.

He said the presence of foreign countries in such a large number had made the event spectacular, truly reflecting the spirit of IFR that humanity was indeed united through the oceans.

“IFR 2016 has enabled us to join hands and work together to secure our seas for the greater good of humanity and the world,” the president said.

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A fleet review is a ceremonial and stately inspection of naval warships by the President, who is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces.

Mukherjee inspected the International Fleet Review of 71 Indian naval ships from aboard the presidential yacht INS Sumitra.

Also on the yacht were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the three service chiefs.

The presidential yatch set off after a 21-gun salute, with three more boats, INS Sumedha, INS Saryu and INS Sunayna (all Saryu class patrol vessels) following in the trail.

The ships to be reviewed stood in six columns with sailors lined up in proud presentation of their naval traditions. Dressed in white ceremonial uniforms, they doffed their caps in unison in a grand salutation resounding the sound of ‘Three Jais’, symbolising the spirit of camaraderie and bonhomie across the seas.

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The ships lined up by the Indian Navy for the review includes both aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat, the latter of which is set to retire soon.

Also participating are warships INS Kolkata, INS Mysore, and other ships of the class, INS Ranvijay, INS Kadmat, the latest ship to be inducted in Indian Navy.

Ships of Indian Coast Guard and Mercantile Marine were also present.

The president also reviewed the Indian Naval Air Arm in a display of spectacular fly-past by several fixed wing and rotary aircraft comprising of different formations.

Past the columns of ships, on display were three Sindhughosh, or kilo-class submarines – INS Sindhuvir, Sindhukriti and Sundhuraj.

The foreign ships included United States’ USS Antietam, a guided missile corvette, HMS Defender of UK, JS Matsuyuki of Japan, IRIS Alvand of Iran, BNS Somudra Joy from Bangladesh, Liuzhou (573) from China, and HMAS Darwin from Australia.

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About 50 navies and 24 foreign ships are participating in the IFR, the second to be held by India and largest military exercise hosted by the country so far.

The last IFR was held in Mumbai in 2001, presided over by the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Twenty-nine countries had participated in that event.

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