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Power Projection at Sea

Unveiling a 43 feet high statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to mark Indian Navy Day 2023, Prime Minister Modi touched upon India’s Naval history and outlined vision for India’s future in maritime development

Issue: 6/2023 By Ayushee ChaudharyPhoto(s): By Indian Navy, PIB
Indian Navy’s killer boats demonstrating their capabilities, speed and agility.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi graced the Navy Day 2023 celebrations at Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, where he witnessed the spectacular ‘Operational Demonstrations’ featuring the prowess of the Indian Navy’s ships, submarines, aircraft, and special forces on the scenic Tarkarli beach.

Navy Day, observed annually on December 4, marks the acknowledgment of the Indian Navy’s pivotal role and commemorates its historic achievements, notably ‘Operation Trident’ during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. This year, the celebrations unfolded at Tarkarli beach, situated in Sindhudurg Taluk of Malvan District, Maharashtra, departing from the tradition of having them at major naval stations. The iconic backdrop for this significant event was the historic Sindhudurg Fort, constructed in 1660 by the renowned Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, symbolising India’s rich maritime legacy.

A highlight of the festivities was the unveiling of a 43 feet high statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Rajkot Fort by Prime Minister Modi. Conceived and funded by the Indian Navy, with support from the Government of Maharashtra, the statue stands as a testament to India’s maritime heritage.

To mark the Indian Navy Day 2023, Prime Minister Modi unveiled a Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Sindhudurg.

Under the theme “Operational Efficiency, Readiness, and Mission Accomplishment in the Maritime Domain,” the Navy Day 2023 celebrations witnessed Prime Minister Modi inspecting the Guard of Honour at Rajkot Fort. The ‘Operational Demonstration’ showcased the Indian Navy’s operational capabilities, covering a spectrum of naval operations, ships, and aircraft at the iconic Sindhudurg Fort on India’s western seaboard.

Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister Modi expressed immense pride in celebrating Navy Day from the historic land of Sindhudurg. He underscored the foresight of Veer Shivaji Maharaj in recognising the strategic importance of naval capabilities, quoting Shivaji Maharaj’s acknowledgment that control over the seas equates to ultimate power. Inspired by the ideals of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Prime Minister Modi announced that the Indian Navy would align its ranks with Indian traditions, further underlining the empowerment of women in the armed forces.

Reflecting on India’s diverse history, Prime Minister Modi celebrated not just the adversities but also the victories, courage, knowledge, science, art, creative skills, and maritime capabilities. He stressed the need to regain India’s lost maritime glory, highlighting the government’s impetus to the Blue Economy through initiatives like ‘Sagarmala’ and ‘Maritime Vision.’

Prime Minister Modi inspecting The Guard of Honour upon his arrival.

The Prime Minister discussed India’s maritime strength, citing examples of ancient forts like Sindhudurg, the Indus Valley Civilisation port in Lothal, and the maritime influence of the Chola Empire. While lamenting the historical decline due to foreign invasions, Prime Minister Modi highlighted India’s commitment to regaining strategic-economic strength.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the transformative phase in India’s history, predicting a future that will shape not only the next 5-10 years but centuries to come. The Prime Minister noted India’s remarkable economic ascent, moving from the 10th to the 5th largest economy in the past decade, with rapid strides towards claiming the 3rd position. He drew attention to the emergence of India as a global friend (‘Vishwa Mitra’) and outlined initiatives like the India Middle East European Corridor, set to revive the historical spice route.

Prime Minister underscored the strength of ‘Made in India,’ citing achievements such as the Tejas aircraft, Kisan Drone, UPI system, and Chandrayaan-3. The imminent production of transport aircraft and the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant exemplifies India’s self-reliance in defence.

The Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Chief of the Naval Staff and other dignitaries enjoying The Navy Day 2023 celebrations at Sindhudurg, in Maharashtra.

A crucial aspect of the Prime Minister’s address was the government’s commitment to uplift coastal and border villages, treating them as priority areas for development. He highlighted the establishment of a separate fisheries ministry in 2019, accompanied by a substantial investment of 40 thousand crore rupees in the sector. The Prime Minister shared encouraging statistics, indicating an 8 per cent increase in fishery production and a 110 per cent surge in exports since 2014.

The Sagarmala Scheme, focused on value chain development in the fisheries sector, was emphasised for enhancing modern connectivity in coastal areas. Substantial financial investments are being made to attract new business and industry to these regions, promoting seafood processing-related industries, and modernising fishing boats.

Prime Minister Modi stressed the need to regain India’s lost maritime glory, highlighting the government’s impetus to the Blue Economy through initiatives like ‘Sagarmala’ and ‘Maritime Vision’

Pointing to the vast potential in the Konkan region, Prime Minister Modi outlined various developmental initiatives, including the inauguration of medical colleges, the Chipi Airport, and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor connecting Mangaon. Special schemes for cashew farmers and mangrove management projects in sites like Malvan, Achara-Ratnagiri, and Devgarh-Vijaydurg were also highlighted.

The Prime Minister underlined the significance of preserving heritage alongside development, with substantial funding directed towards the conservation of forts built during the period of Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra, including Konkan. This preservation effort is expected to boost tourism, create employment opportunities, and contribute to regional development. The government’s efforts to promote merchant shipping, marked by a 140 per cent increase in seafarers over the past nine years, were highlighted. Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence in India’s future, spotlighting unity, positivity, and the nation’s commitment to a developed India.

Fast Attack Craft demonstrating their agility in shallow water operations.
Marine Commandos slither down to attack ‘from the sea’.

In his concluding remarks, Prime Minister Modi celebrated the new tradition of holding armed forces days outside Delhi, expanding the reach of these occasions throughout India. The Navy Day celebration event was a testament to India’s maritime prowess and its dedication to preserving and advancing its rich maritime heritage.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the achievements in naval selfreliance, particularly the commissioning of the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. Speaking on the occasion, the Defence Minister, termed the unveiling of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue as a moment of privilege. He highlighted Shivaji’s visionary contributions to India’s naval tradition, emphasising the government’s commitment to shedding colonial mindsets, as reflected in the adoption of a new naval ensign. Rajnath Singh also commended Prime Minister Modi’s dedication to enhancing naval capabilities, emphasising the importance of a strong Navy for any major global power.

On Navy Day 2023, Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chauhan extended his greetings and shared, “#OnPathToTransformation, the Indian Navy has always preserved & promoted our National Interests. It will continue to be a symbol of our nation’s strength & resolve.”

“On this historic day we rededicate ourselves to the service of our great Nation & continue to serve with pride honour & unwavering commitment to National Security. Jai Bharat! SamNoVarunah. We also pay homage to our brave hearts who have made the supreme sacrifice, in line of duty. Their courage & commitment will continue to inspire us in keeping our seas safe & transforming them into a symbol of cooperation & not competition/conflict,” stated Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff on behalf of all Navy personnel.

The Navy Day celebration, hosted by Admiral R. Hari Kumar and conducted by Vice Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi, showcased the capabilities of the Indian Navy. The Operational Demonstration showcased capabilities of Indian Naval ships, submarines, aircraft, helicopters and Special Forces. The event saw participation of more than 15 major and minor warships (mostly indigenous) along with over 40 aircraft comprising MiG-29K, indigenous LCA Navy and Advanced Light Helicopter, as well as the newly inducted multi-mission helicopter MH-60R. Other major attractions included performance by the Naval Band, Continuity Drill by the Naval contingent and Hornpipe dance by the Cadets of Sea Cadet Corps. The grand event concluded with the traditional illumination of ships and the Sindhudurg Fort, symbolising the Navy’s contributions to national security and nation-building.