Milan 2024 rehearsals: Marching boots, jet engines enthrall all

Visakhapatnam: The rhythmic beat of marching boots and the roar of jet engines filled the air here on Tuesday afternoon, as the city witnessed a full-dress rehearsal for the Milan-2024 International City Parade.

The event was graced by Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

Over 2,000 naval personnel from nations including India, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand marched in unison.

The skies above Visakhapatnam came alive with a thrilling ballet of aircraft. Jet engines roared as they screeched past the azure canvas, while helicopters performed precision manoeuvres that left the audience awestruck.

The newly arrived Seahawk helicopters took centre-stage, demonstrating their lifesaving capabilities in a simulated rescue operation, while Marine commandos descended from the sky with parachute displays.

On the ground, Gemini boats staged a mock attack on the beach, showcasing the Indian Navy's tactical prowess.

A key highlight of the rehearsal was participation of the Tejas fighter aircraft, performing a captivating Panther formation for the first time in Milan's history.

Beyond military might, the rehearsal showcased the vibrant tapestry of cultures. Some 205 students enthralled the audience with a colourful performance, followed by contingents from the Indian armed forces, Sea Cadet Corps, National Cadet Corps, schools, and veterans' associations.

International participants from Bangladesh, France, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Russia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, England and Vietnam added their distinct flair to the parade, their uniforms and traditions painting a vibrant picture of global unity.

As the Sun dipped below the horizon, the rehearsal concluded with a breathtaking display of illuminated ships and a dazzling fireworks extravaganza. With the main event scheduled for February 22, Visakhapatnam is set to be transformed once again.

The city will become a stage for a remarkable showcase of maritime power, cultural exchange and international collaboration, solidifying Milan's position as a beacon of peace and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Milan event, initially hosted at the Andaman Nicobar Islands in Port Blair with only four participating countries, has evolved significantly. India, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand were the pioneering participants in 1995. Since then, the event has seen a steady increase in participation.

Despite occasional interruptions such as the cancellation in 2005 due to a tsunami and in 2016 for international fleet reviews, Milan continued to expand. From just eight participating countries until 2010, the event reached a remarkable milestone in 2012 with the participation of 16 countries, and saw 39 countries’ participation in 2022.

This year, the number surged to around 50, reflecting a growing commitment by friendly nations to foster fraternal relations among them.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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