The ships are lined up in columns along the Visakhapatnam coast; the Beach Road wears a sparkling new look with every nook and corner getting a makeover. It is a grand spectacle in the coastal city as Visakhapatnam gears up to host two major events — the Presidential Fleet Review (PFR) to be held on February 21 and MILAN Naval Exercise that will be held from February 24 to March 4. Families, photography enthusiasts and artists will be among the thousands of people expected to gather at the Beach Road to witness the events.
About 50 ships and an equal number of aircraft will participate in the PFR. In the run-up to the events, R K Beach has been witnessing rehearsals in full swing.
Commemorating 75 years of independence, the theme of PFR 22 is ‘Indian Navy – 75 years in Service of the Nation’. So far, 11 PFRs, including two International Fleet Reviews, were hosted by the Indian Navy. The first Presidential Fleet Review in India was hosted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 10 October 1953. PFR usually takes place once in the President’s term. The PFR lineup includes the ‘review anchorage’, the ‘steampast’ and ‘flypast’ by mobile columns, the ‘parade of sails’, and the release of a first day cover and a commemorative stamp.
After the PFR, Milan will be held in Visakhapatnam from February 25 to March 4, during which over 40 friendly Navies are expected to participate. Held every two years in India, it is an exercise that was initiated in 1995. The theme for this year’s show is ‘Camaraderie, Cohesion and Collaboration.’