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President Prathiba Patil sails in war ship, reviews naval fleet

Mumbai, Dec 20 (): After flying in frontline Sukhoi jet and riding a battle tank, President Prathibha Patil on Tuesday set sail in a war ship in Mumbai for the first time to review an impressive naval steam past.

She created history by sailing in war ship and reviewing the mammoth naval fleet of the country.

President sailed on-board INS Subhadra, a naval off-shore patrol vessel and guarded by the elite Marine commandos. She reviewed a fleet of 81 ships and 44 aircraft as part of the 10th Presidential Fleet Review.

The President was accompanied by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju, the Maharashtra Governor, the three service chiefs and four Cabinet Ministers on board the warship.

The review began at 9 a.m. with 150-men Guard of Honour and customary 21-gun salute accorded to Ms. Patil.

Patil, who was secured by the elite marine commandos (Marcos) and snipers on the ship, wore a Navy cap as she took salute from different class of ships and aircrafts of the Navy during the over two-hour ‘Presidential Fleet Review’ ceremony.

The President, in response, stood up and saluted each of the ships. The last to salute the President was country’s lone aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. The Navy also offered a brief glimpse of its air power by flying its fighter, transport and surveillance aircraft.

“Today, the Indian Navy is one of the most capable in the region and with its well thought out modernisation plans, is destined to grow even further,” Patil said while addressing naval officers.

“I am confident that our fleet is fully prepared to meet any challenges that may threaten the maritime security of our nation in the future. As the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces, I am convinced of the capacity and resolve of our Naval personnel. I wish the Indian Navy fair winds, following seas and a glorious future,” she said.

The 77-year-old Ms. Patil said the Navy’s dominance in the region is set to grow with the induction of an aircraft carrier, new submarines and destroyers.

After the fleet review, Ms. Patil inaugurated a Naval museum here which displays the history of the water force and of the ship building enterprise.

A fleet review is conducted once in the tenure of a President to showcase to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and the country, the naval prowess and its strike capabilities.