Panaji, May 21 (IANS) The completion of the arduous ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, a global circumnavigation expedition undertaken by six women sailors of the Indian Navy, has shown that youngsters can complete any difficult task if they put their minds to it, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.
She was speaking after flagging in Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi and her crew, who returned to Goa after nine months of sailing across the globe.
“I want to take the liberty to say it is not the girls’ achievement, but that of the youngsters from India. It should be more motivational for men and women. It is not just for the girls. It is not just for the women of this country. The women of the country have shown it’s possible for youngsters, if they want to do something, that they can indeed do it,” Sitharaman said at a function held at INS Mandovi naval base near here, soon after INSV Tarini cruised into the naval base along with the crew.
It is the first time that an all-women crew of naval sailors circumnavigated the globe in a sailing boat.
“So I would lift the whole motivation argument — not just confine it to the ladies of this country, but for all youngsters. Be ready to face the challenges, show the commitment, grit, dedication. I have not contributed anything except for one retweet of the Navy spokesperson every morning to say where they are, what is their location,” Sitharaman said.
The Defence Minister said that ever since the crew had set sail on the expedition in September last year, social media users, who engage with the Defence Ministry, would ask her repeatedly about the progress made by Joshi and her crew.
“… wherever I went in this country, people would start a conversation with me, saying how are the girls, what are they doing, when are they returning. That has become the conversation among many people who have been closely following the Ministry of Defence, particularly the Navy,” Sitharaman said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be meeting the team on May 23.
Sitharaman also complimented the team of sailors for choosing the rigours of non-mechanised sailing over obvious comforts that more technology-oriented options often tend to provide, in order to make maritime history.
“They have made history, not only for themselves, but for the naval history and maritime history of the world, that it is possible in this day and age where technology attracts you, where technology tells you to do a lot of things easily, rather than take a difficult course,” Sitharaman said.
The objective of the Navika Sagar Parikrama is to promote ocean sailing activities in the Navy while depicting government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.
The first Indian solo circumnavigation was undertaken by now retired Captain Dilip Donde in 2009-10 and the first Indian non-stop solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Cdr Abhilash Tomy in 2012-13.