Navy Day 2009 Celebrations at Gateway of India

After a week long spell of activities varying from Band performance for the music lovers to a free Medical camp for the needy, Sea swimming competition for the adventurous, INS Vikrant open for the Public and visit to the INS Vikrant and harbour cruise for ‘Special children’ arranged by the Western Naval Command, its time to commemorate the day of glory for the Indian Navy - the ‘Navy Day’ celebrated annually on 04th Dec to mark the successful and daring attack code named ‘Operation Trident’ launched by the Indian Navy on Karachi right at the commencement of hostilities during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, when the small but powerful OSA class Missile boats of the Navy struck Karachi harbour. Since then the Indian Navy observes Navy Week organising activities for the Public. It also serves as an occasion for Navy-public interaction.

The Gateway of India and its surroundings wore a festive look as a contingent of about 64 musicians of the Indian Naval Band accompanied by about 48 Flag Bearers carrying the Tri Colour, the Naval Ensign, Blue flags with the Naval insignia and BMC insignia, smartly marched along the PJ Ramchandani Marg (Apollo Bunder Road) up to the Radio Club and back performing for the several spectators lined along the road opposite the Taj Hotel.

As the Band positioned themselves inside the Gateway, three Chetak helicopters from the Helicopter base INS Shikra at Colaba, emerged from the sky and came to a hover off the sea wall opposite the Taj Hotel, lowering Commandos onto Gemini boats (rubberised boat). The Chetaks departure made way for the Marine Commando version Seaking helicopter with one Prahar of Marine Commandos (MARCOS) who slithered down adjacent the Gateway depicting insertion of MARCOS in hostile territory. As the Seaking moved out, the MARCOS repositioned themselves into boats in the vicinity from where the Seaking recovered the MARCOS and flew past the area with the commandos slung under its belly.


The sound of the helicopters just faded when the Naval Band sounded the fanfare announcing the arrival of the Chief Guest Mr SC Jamir, HE the Governorta of Maharashtra. The Governor was received by Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.

With the guests in place after the National Anthem, the Navy Band stepped out of the portals of the Gateway of India for the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony and manoeuvring till it was Sunset, when the Naval Ensign hoisted atop the Gateway was hauled down. (‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony is a ceremony followed in the early days to signal the troops to disengage from combat and withdraw to their billeting areas as daylight faded). Just as the audience were settling down to witness the Continuity Drill by an armed contingent of 20 sailors, six Chetak and three Seaking helicopters flew past the Gateway in an arrow formation with the lead helicopters carrying the National Flag and the Naval Ensign underslung. Shortly after the continuity drill, the Drummers took centre stage for the Tattoo ceremony (a ceremony ordering troops from the billeting area to their quarters with beating of drum). Amidst the darkness, the skyline light up with fireworks and the warships anchored off the Gateway illuminated themselves displaying only their silhouette against a dark background. The events of Navy Day 09 came to a close with the National Anthem.
Navy Day 2009 Celebrations at Gateway of India Navy Day 2009 Celebrations at Gateway of India Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 10:23:00 PM Rating: 5
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