President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Ram Nath Kovind presented the President’s Colour to Indian Naval Aviation at INS Hansa in Goa on 6 September.
To mark the occasion, a ceremonial parade with a 150-men Guard of Honour was presented to the President. The Governor of Goa; PS Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister of Goa; Dr Pramod Sawant and Minister of State for Tourism, Ports Shipping and Waterways; Shripad Yesso Naik, Chief of Naval Staff; Admiral Karambir Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar and Flag Officer Naval Aviation Rear Admiral Philipose G Pynumootil along with other civil and military dignitaries attended the ceremony.
The President’s Colour is bestowed on a military unit in recognition of exceptional service rendered to the Nation, both in peace and in war. Naval Aviation has distinguished itself with notable and gallant service to our Nation over the past seven decades. The Indian Navy was the first Indian Armed Force, to receive the President’s Colour, from Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India on 27 May 1951. Subsequent recipients of the President’s Colour in the Navy include Southern Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Western Naval Command, Eastern Fleet, Western Fleet, Submarine Arm, INS Shivaji and the Indian Naval Academy.
Award of the President’s Colour to Indian Naval Aviation is in recognition of the yeoman service rendered both during peace and combat. The arm came into being with acquisition of the first Sealand aircraft on 13 January 1951 and commissioning of INS Garuda, at Kochi on 11 May 1953.
Today, Naval Aviation boasts of nine Air Stations and three Naval Air Enclaves, along the Indian coastline and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Over the past seven decades, it has transformed into a modern, technologically advanced, and highly potent force, with more than 250 aircraft comprising Fighters, Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft, Helicopters and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Today, Naval Aviation assets are capable of undertaking missions along the entire gamut of military operations. Naval Aviation is a vital component of the main roles of Indian Navy – Military, Diplomatic, Constabulary and Benign.
Speaking on the occasion, the President recalled the glorious contribution of INS Vikrant with its integral aircraft, which played a crucial role in liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
He said that Naval aircraft have also been at the forefront of numerous peacetime as well as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations, providing relief not only to our countrymen but also to friendly foreign nations. The President lauded the indigenisation efforts of the Indian Navy in keeping with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision of the government. The President also made a mention of the significant progress made in aviation technology, facilitation of state-of-the-art indigenous weapons, sensors, and data suites for Naval aircraft.
He congratulated the officers and sailors on the occasion and added that Naval Aviation has come of age with the perseverance of the National Leadership. He also congratulated all veteran and serving Naval Aviators for their selfless service to the Nation.