President Ram Nath Kovind will attend the President’s Fleet Review of the Indian Navy on 21 February in Visakhapatnam to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. The President’s Fleet Review will be the twelfth of its kind and more than 60 ships and submarines and 50 aircraft will participate in the review.
“In terms of significance, the Navy’s Presidential Review is second only to the Republic Day Parade,” defence sources said. Naval forces in various countries undertake such procedures, involving an assembly of ships, to show allegiance and loyalty to the state.
In the Indian context, a presidential fleet review includes all the ships from the Eastern Naval Command and the Western Naval Command.
While every president — the supreme commander of the armed forces — reviews the fleet once during their tenure, the history of naval fleet reviews in India dates as far back as the 18th century, when the Maratha fleet conducted a review at Ratnagiri.
The events scheduled for 21 February include the ‘review anchorage’, the ‘steampast’ and ‘flypast’ by mobile columns, the ‘parade of sails’, and the release of a first day cover of a commemorative stamp.
“All the participating units, which include Indian naval warships, submarines, auxiliary vessels…will be anchored in a formation of four precise columns,” the sources said, regarding the fleet review procedure. “Each ship would render a salute to the Supreme Commander as the [Presidential Yacht] sails past. Indian naval aircraft would simultaneously fly overhead the formation, rendering their salute,” the sources added.
Invites for the 12th President’s Fleet Review have also been “extended to resident Defence Attaches of all Friendly Foreign Countries”, the sources stated. Of the previous 11 President’s Fleet Reviews, two have been “international” reviews, held in 2001 and 2016 respectively.