Mumbai: President Reviews Naval Fleet

Mumbai, Dec 20 (IANS): President Pratibha Patil Tuesday praised the Indian Navy and said the anti-piracy missions undertaken by the navy and the Coast Guard have earned them the gratitude of the maritime community and of other navies.

Patil also said that safeguarding the maritime borders is a major requirement for the social and economic wellbeing of our country.

Addressing the navymen after conducting the 10th Fleet Review off the Mumbai coast in the Arabian Sea, Patil said: "Protection of our coast, our 'sea lines-of-communications', and the offshore development areas is a major pre-requisite for our nation's development."

She said that the oil exploration activities off the Indian coasts and at sea are of significant economic importance.

"India is surrounded by water bodies on three sides. This gives us an inherent geographical advantage, but it also poses numerous security challenges," she said.

"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," she added.

Speaking about the growing strength of the Indian Navy, President Patil said the launch of the nuclear submarine Arihant, and induction of the indigenously built Shivalik class frigates are a reflection of the capability of the country's shipyards and technological competence of its personnel.

"Navy is poised to achieve new milestones with the imminent induction of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, the Kolkata class stealth destroyers and an impressive number of submarines and aircraft," she said.

Sailing on board INS Subhadra, a naval off-shore patrol vessel, Patil reviewed a line-up of 81 ships and 44 aircraft, as part of the 10th Presidential Fleet Review.

The review began with the guard of honour by 150 men and a 21-gun salute to the president who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces.

the president began the review under a light fog, first sailing past the Indian naval ship INS Angray, named after the legendary Maratha naval commander.

As the presidential yacht sailed past each of the ship, the sailors doffed their white caps in ceremonial salute with shouts of 'Rashtrapati Ki Jai'. This is a customary promise of allegiance and commitment of each and every crew member to the President of India and to the nation. Patil responded with a salute to each of the ship she reviewed.

Different classes of naval ships ranging from the tiny sail ship INS Mhadei, which took Cdr. Dhonde on round-the-world solo trip, to the mighty aircraft carrier INS Virat were lined up in lanes for inspection.

Among the prominent ships anchored were destroyers - INS Mysore, Delhi and Mumbai, frigates Shivalik and Satpura, warships of Brahmaputra and Godavari class, training ship INS Tarangini and a variety of tankers and other auxiliary ships.

Four ships of the Coast Guard and three ships of the Shipping Corporation of India also participated in the Fleet Review.

Later, aircraft of the Indian Navy flew past the inspecting yacht, according an aerial salute to the president. The fly-past included MiG 29s, Sea Harriers, Kirans, Dorniers, Sea King and Chetak helicopters among others.


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Title: Mumbai: President Reviews Naval Fleet

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