Visakhapatnam: The Eastern Naval Command, with its headquarters in Visakhapatnam, will host the Presidential Fleet Review in March next year. This is for the second time that Visakhapatnam is hosting the Fleet Review. Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had reviewed the naval fleet in 2006 in Visakhapatnam, announced Flag Officer, Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain.
Every President, as Supreme Commander of armed forces, reviews the Naval fleet once in his or her term as per the naval traditions. Ships from all the commands and few merchant ships belonging to Shipping Corporation of India, participate in the fleet review.
Addressing a press conference at the ENC headquarters on the eve of Navy Day on Thursday, the Vice Admiral had asked the defence ministry to send tentative dates so that the command would launch preparations.
Similarly, Vizag would host MILAN, a multilateral naval exercise in March before the Presidential Fleet Review. MILAN is a biennial, multilateral naval exercise which commenced in 1995, and was conducted at Andaman and Nicobar Command until 2018. It was to be held in March this year but deferred due to Covid Pandemic, he said.
These two are major events after the International Fleet Review that was held in 2016 and attended by President Pranob Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The honour of reviewing the Indian Fleet, as the Head of the State for the first time, went to Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Indian Republic on 10 October 10, 1953.
President A P J Abdul Kalam created history by becoming India's first head of state to undertake an undersea sortie. During his fleet review held in Visakhapatnam in 2006, Dr Abdul Kalam travelled on the INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian-origin kilo class submarine, for a duration of three and a half hours.
Presidential Fleet Review is a tradition that Indian Navy inherited from British Royal Navy and reminds of the link with INS Viraat known by its earlier name HMS Hermes that was commissioned into Indian Navy in 1987. INS Viraat was on display at Presidential Fleet Review held in 1989 by President R. Venkatraman during which a commemorative postal stamp of denomination `6.50 was released.