On the eve of 74th #IndianRepublicDay I join 1.4 Billion Indians and many friends of India to salute to #IncredibleIndia in the #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav Year of Independence. As President Smt Draupadi Murmu leads the celebrants at Kartavya Path tomorrow, the Guest of Honour will be Egyptian President Mr Abdel Fattah El-Sisi even as the combined Band & Marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces, led by Colonel Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel Fattah El Kharasawy will march in a collaborative commemoration of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (World is One Family). This is significant in the year of the Indian G20 Presidency! Team #JOI greets each one Happy Indian Republic Day 2023!
As an Indian Navy #Veteran my eyes and emotions will be drawn to the Indian Navy marching contingent of 144 young sailors including six Agniveers. Led by led by Lt Cdr Disha Amrith as Contingent Commander and Lt Ashwani Singh, SLt Valli Meena S and SLt M Aditya as Platoon Commanders the contingent will be accompanied by the Naval Tableau, designed on the theme “Indian Navy – Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof”.
The press brief reports that the forward part of the tableau will depict an all-women crew surveillance sortie undertaken on a Dornier aircraft last year. The ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Navy on display will show the new indigenous Nilgiri class ship and a Dhruv helicopter deploying marine commandos. Models of indigenous Kalvari class submarines along with display models of autonomous unmanned systems being indigenously-developed under iDEX-Sprint Challenge will make any Indian swell with pride. Caught in the scintillating tunes by world renowned brass band of the Indian Navy of 80 musicians will be led by M Antony Raj, MCPO Musician Second Class) I appeal to the audience in person and online to seal in their hearts the reality that India is a maritime nation with a peninsular geography and with a global influence across the oceans.
Personally I stand in reverence and yet feel nostalgic. The Indian Navy is making a big splash this Republic Day. As the biggest parade takes place in New Delhi, the sword arms of the Navy are deployed away from public gaze as they do a swath across the Indian Ocean at TROPEX 2023, the biennial Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise. More than a decade ago I had the honour to lead the core coordination and conduct team of TROPEX 2010 to 2012. I hope to share that in another piece on Indian Maritime Spectrum across the Indian Ocean Region.
TROPEX 23 will span almost three months from January - March 2023. Almost all surface combatants of the Indian Navy including Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes as well as submarines and aircraft accredit their combat competency through complex maritime operational deployments to validate and refine the Navy’s Concept of Operations in a multi-disciplinary manner and cementing an integrated military strategy. The exercise will be in different phases, both in harbour and at sea, encompassing various facets of combat operations, including live weapon firings.
The official release mentions that, “Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise provides an opportunity to test the combat readiness of the combined Fleets of the Indian Navy to operate in a multi-threat environment. The maritime exercise also facilitates operational level interaction with the Indian Army, Indian Airforce and the Coast Guard, which will further strengthen interoperability and joint operations in a complex environment.”
73 years ago, at sunset the Royal Indian Navy Ensign came down aboard all our Navy Ships and Establishments and as the “Royal” prefix was shed, the Indian Navy hoisted its own White Ensign on 26 January 1950. Last year on 02 September 2022, as the indigenous INS Vikrant was commissioned in the presence of our Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the new Indian Navy Ensign was unveiled with an Indian design and yet a Global Ethos!
Prior to signing off through this piece I seek to have tributes paid to the uwrapping of Indian Tricolour across the oceans epitomised by a good friend and a Global Icon - Commander Abhilash Tomy, Kirt Chakra, Indian Navy Veteran! On 26 January 2013 whilst solo circumnavigating the globe under sail he unfurled the Indian Tricolour aboard INSV Mhadei in the waters of Cape Horn. Currently on Indian Republic Day 2023 Cdr Abhilash Tomy will unfurl three Indian National Flags aboard SS Bayanat in the Pacific Ocean even as he presently is in second position in the Golden Globe Race 2022-23!
On this 74th Indian Republic Day in the “Amrit Kaal” of India may I ask all Indians and our friends across the globe to salute the bonds of friendship and collaborative competency that Maritime India brings across the oceans.
Jai Hind! Sam Noh Varunah! Do stay connected with us at www.johnsonodakkal.com