The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will award the President’s Standard to the 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron, also known as the Killer Squadron at a ceremonial parade to be held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on December 8. To mark the occasion, a special day cover along with a commemorative stamp will also be released by the Postal Department.
The ceremony is expected to be attended by the Governor, Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Chief of the Naval Staff as well as several other civil and military dignitaries. The President’s Standard is the highest honour bestowed by the Supreme Commander to a military unit in recognition of the service rendered to the nation. The Indian Navy was awarded the President’s Colours on 27 May 1951 by the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad. The President’s Standard is the same honour as the President’s Colours, awarded to a relatively smaller military formation or unit.
The 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron was formally established at Mumbai in October 1991 with ten Veer-Class and three Prabal-Class missile boats. However, the genesis of ‘Killers’ dates back to the year 1969, with the induction of OSA I Class missile boats from erstwhile USSR to bolster the strength of the Indian Navy. These missile boats were transported to India on heavy lift merchant ships and commissioned in early 1971 at Kolkata. They were baptised by fire in the same year during the Indo-Pak War of 1971 where they played a decisive role in the outcome of the war.
A press statement from the Navy stated that on the intervening night of 4 and 5 December 1971, the youngest warriors of a young Indian Navy drew first blood when they launched a devastating offensive on the Pakistan Navy. Indian Navy ships Nirghat, Nipat and Veer fired their Styx missiles and sank Pakistan Navy ships Khyber and Muhafiz, delivering a deathly blow to aspirations of the Pakistan Navy and crippling them for years to come.” Code-named Op Trident, this operation is one of the most successful operations in modern naval history, with no casualties being sustained by the Indian forces. The Indian Navy carried out another attack on the intervening night of 8 and 9 December, when INS Vinash, along with two frigates, launched four Styx missiles, sinking the Pakistan Naval Fleet Tanker Dacca and caused substantial damage to Keamari Oil Storage Facility at Karachi. Again, there were no damages reported to the Indian forces. It is because of these heroic deeds of the ships and men of the Squadron that they earned the title of ‘Killers’ and the Indian Navy celebrates 4th December as Navy Day.
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the victory in 1971 war and is being celebrated across the country as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’. The year also marks fifty years since inception of the Killers who over the past five decades have maintained the capability of delivering a credible offensive punch from the sea. Being the tip of the Sword Arm of the Indian Navy, the battle-ready Missile Vessel Squadron has participated in Op Vijay, Op Parakram and most recently, during the heightened security state following the Pulwama attack deployed within striking distance of Pakistan coast. The squadron prides itself with distinguished battle honours including one Maha Vir Chakra, seven Vir Chakras and eight Nausena Medals (Gallantry) which are testimony to the gallant spirit of the Killers.
The statement further added that these lethal ships capable of high speeds and stealthy strikes, fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, manned by the youngest and most motivated crew, the 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron are the Navy’s assurance to the nation against any misadventure by our adversaries.