Visakhapatnam: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday embarked on Presidential Yacht 'INS Sumitra' and reviewed the imposing international parade of fleet at IFR-2016 here where 50 countries across the globe have come together to participate in this show of prowess and preparedness by the Indian Navy.
Mukherjee, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, among others at the International Fleet Review (IFR).This is the 11th fleet review after independence and the second international one being conducted in India.
The President was onboard 'INS Sumitra' which sailed through a display of 70 ships at anchorage off Visakhapatnam.
Speaking after reviewing the fleet, Mukherjee said 50 friendly Navies have sailed across oceans and sent Naval ships and/or delegations to participate in the first IFR on the east coast of India at Visakhapatnam.
"Navies world over have conducted fleet reviews to symbolise their loyalty, allegiance to the nation and strengthening bonds between the sailors and the State.
IFR 2016 does that much and much more", the President said.
"IFR 2016, while focusing on the prowess of Indian Navy, has brought together Navies from across the globe here on Indian shores, signifying our common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship as also develop partnership for a secure maritime future", he said.
The review had a combination of ships from Indian Navy as well as frontline Navies from across the globe.
The ships from Indian Coast Guard and Mercantile Marine also participated.
In this most formal of naval ceremonies, each ship dressed in full regalia saluted the President as he passed.
The President also reviewed the Indian Naval air arm in a display of spectacular fly-past by several fixed wing and rotary aircraft comprising 15 formations.
In the final stage of the review, a mobile column of warships and submarines streamed past the Presidential Yacht.
This display showcased the latest acquisitions of the Indian Navy.
Further, several enthralling waterfront activities, a display of Marine Commandos and helicopter demonstrations were conducted to mesmerise the viewers.
The President said India's geographical location, astride the major shipping routes of the Indian Ocean, gives it a pivotal maritime role.
"Considering the globalised nature of today's political and economic environment, it is our belief that the present day maritime domain requires navies across the world to re-focus their efforts to counter the rising tide of non-traditional maritime challenges in the brown, green and blue waters across all oceans," he said.
Mukherjee said the Indian Navy, accordingly, has re-aligned its maritime strategy, to reflect the changes in the evolving global environment, and has established a credible record of cooperative initiatives to promote stability of the oceans, and played a central role in ensuring safety of the vital sea lines of communication, across the Indian Ocean.
The navies of the world have a unique role in promoting goodwill, nurturing peace and tranquillity in the oceans, he said.
"Your ships and all personnel participating at this momentous fleet review are ambassadors of great nations that you represent.
The message of friendship and goodwill of your people strengthens our belief in promoting peace, prosperity and stability for mutual co-existence and ensuring secure seas.
"Your presence in such large numbers has made this international event spectacular and truly reflects the spirit of this IFR, we are indeed 'United through Oceans'.The waters that lap our coast also wash your shores, these great blue
'COMMONS' indeed link us to each other.
IFR 2016 has enabled us to join hands and work together to secure our seas for the greater good of humanity and the world," the President added.
Mukherjee complimented the Indian Navy, especially the Eastern Naval Command, for meticulous planning and flawless conduct of Saturday's splendid fleet review.