Complimenting the Indian Navy for becoming increasingly self-reliant, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said the development of indigenous naval shipbuilding capabilities was an impressive contribution to the making of an “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

The President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, was addressing a gathering after reviewing the Indian Navy’s fleet at Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. The 12th Presidential Fleet Review kicked off with a 21-gun salute.

Kovind said Indian Navy had been at the forefront of the “Make in India” initiative with about 70 per cent of the contents of several warships and submarines under construction in various public and private shipyards across the country being indigenous.

“It is a matter of great pride that India has built nuclear submarines and soon we will have our indigenously built aircraft carrier, ‘Vikrant’, joining the service. I was happy to inspect ‘Vikrant’ during my visit to Kochi in December last year,” he said.

He said the excellent parade of ships, aircraft and submarines as part of the Presidential Fleet Review showcased the professional competence and determination of the maritime services of the nation. It also showed the preparedness of the Indian Navy for any contingency, he said.

The President recalled the heroic action of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, in the naval blockade of the then East Pakistan and the sinking of Pakistan’s submarine “Ghazi.”

“That was a decisive blow to Pakistan. The 1971 war remains one of the most emphatic victories in our history. India believes in “Security and Growth for All in the Region” to focus on cooperative measures for sustainable use of oceans,” he said.

Kovind pointed out that a large part of global trade flows through the Indian Ocean region. “A significant portion of our trade and energy needs are met through the oceans. Safety of the seas and of the maritime commons, therefore, remains a critical requirement. The Indian Navy’s constant vigil, prompt response to incidents and untiring efforts have been highly successful in this regard,” he said.

He also appreciated the role played by Indian Navy during the Covid-19 pandemic in providing aid to friendly nations by supplying medicines and evacuating stranded Indian citizens and foreign nationals in different parts of the world under “Mission Sagar” and “Samudra Setu.”

The President said the Indian Navy regularly engages with a large number of other navies of the world through bilateral and multilateral exercises with a view to enhancing interoperability, gaining from best practices and building mutual confidence to address maritime issues. “In this regard, I convey my best wishes for the forthcoming Multinational Naval Exercise – Milan 2022,” he said.

Kovind embarked on the Presidential yacht ‘INS Sumitra’ to review the Indian Naval fleet. During the review, a mobile column of warships and submarines carried out high-speed steam past alongside the Presidential yacht. Several enthralling waterfront activities by Parade of Sails, Search and Rescue Demonstration at Sea, Aerobatics by Hawk aircraft and Water Para Jumps by the elite Marine Commandos (MARCOS) held the guests mesmerised.

As the presidential yacht passed between the review columns, each ship dressed in full regalia, manned by her ship’s company saluted the President with traditional “Three Jais” in a demonstration of the unconditional allegiance to the country and the Supreme Commander.

The President also witnessed demonstrations in the form of a composite flypast by 55 aircraft including Chetaks, ALH, Sea Kings, KAMOVs, Dorniers, IL-38SD, P8I, Hawks and MiG 29K.

The review was followed by the release of a special First Day Cover and a commemorative stamp by the president in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Communication Devusinh J Chauhan.

Andhra Pradesh governor Biswabhushan Harichandan and state home minister Mekathoti Sucharita were also present at the President’s Fleet Review function.