International Fleet Review 2016: A Curtain-raiser

Issue: 5 / 2015By Rear Admiral Sushil Ramsay (Retd)Photo(s): By Indian Navy

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R.K. Dhowan, announced on October 14, 2015, that the Indian Navy plans to conduct an International Fleet Review (IFR) on the Eastern Seaboard at Visakhapatnam from February 4-8, 2016. At a specially convened press conference at New Delhi, CNS said that over 47 navies from across the globe are expected to be represented at this event which would be reviewed by Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, on February 6, 2016.

In the current geopolitical scenario, seafarers of the world, represented by their navies, have taken a leading role in bringing nations together by steadily increasing cooperation at sea. One of the important ways used by the navies to enhance cooperation and promote friendship amongst the seafaring community is through the conduct of the fleet reviews. The leading nations of the world use the opportunity provided by the fleet reviews to enhance mutual trust and confidence with their maritime neighbours by inviting their ships, submarines and aircraft to participate in it. Called an IFR, this event then provides the host nation an occasion to display its own naval prowess and maritime capabilities whilst simultaneously generating goodwill amongst other maritime nations. The second Indian IFR aims at assuring the country of the Indian Navy’s preparedness, high morale and discipline.

On this occasion, Admiral Dhowan said: “During the IFR, the navies of the world will come together at Visakhapatnam to strengthen bridges of friendship. We may be separated by geography, but we are certainly united through oceans. The visiting navies will also have the opportunity to display their professional skills as they sail together for exercises to increase mutual cooperation and interoperability, with the underlying theme of keeping the global commons safe and secure in the 21st century.”

SP’s Naval Forces sought a clarification whether it would be reasonable to expect that the indigenously developed and constructed third leg of the nuclear triad in the form of INS Arihant to be on parade for review by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of India. Admiral Dhowan, in response said, “Currently Arihant is going through the critical phase of extensive sea trials. Each of the trial schedules is crucial from the nuclear safety point of view. These trials are being monitored by multiple agencies and do not offer the scope of hastening. It is only after satisfactory and successful completion of the trials that Arihant can be considered for commissioning. So, at the present time it will be very difficult to predict whether she will participate in IFR”. He went on to add that two aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat, in addition to several destroyers, frigates, submarines and 50 aircrafts of the Indian Navy will form the Review Column.

IFR-16 Logo and Mascot

The specially designed signature elements for the event comprising the logo, the chosen mascot – the Dolphin, the adopted theme as ‘United through Oceans’ and the theme song composed for the event were also released. The website and the mobile app IFR-16 Indian Navy which will serve as the single window interface for interaction with the public and the participants was also launched.

The IFR logo represents the initial letters of the International Fleet Review, namely I, F and R and are coordinated in a fashion to indicate the three dimensions of the Navy, viz. ship, submarine and aircraft. The inner circle has the colours of the Indian Tricolour. The outer circle has the event, the year and its venue.