Shivaji imprint on new epaulettes for naval officers, ranks to be Indianised: PM
PM Modi said epaulettes donned by naval officers will highlight the heritage and legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and will be similar to the naval ensign
NEW DELHI: New epaulettes to be worn by naval officers will bear the imprint of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s maritime legacy as India leaves behind the mentality of slavery and moves ahead drawing inspiration from the Maratha ruler, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday in his Navy Day address at Sindhudurg in Maharashtra.
The current epaulettes, a shoulder piece that signals an officer’s rank, feature the Nelson’s Ring, a colonial legacy.
The PM also announced that an upcoming nomenclature of naval ranks will also be in line with Indian traditions.
The new epaulettes and the Indianised ranks will be the latest in a series of changes introduced by the navy during the last year to discard traditions associated with the British empire, including adopting a new ensign, doing away with batons for commanders and allowing traditional Indian wear in officers’ messes.
“Inspired by the ideals of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, today’s India is moving forward abandoning the mentality of slavery. I am happy to announce that the epaulettes donned by the naval officers will now highlight the heritage and legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and they will be similar to the naval ensign,” the PM said.
He recalled unveiling the naval ensign last year while commissioning India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. The flag, which earlier featured the St George’s cross, now has the seal of Shivaji.
This year’s Navy Day celebrations were held at the Sindhudurg Fort, built by the Maratha ruler in the 17th century.
India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident, the navy’s attack on Karachi harbour during the 1971 war with Pakistan.
“With the feeling of taking pride in one’s heritage, I am proud to make another announcement. The navy is now going to name its ranks in line with Indian traditions,” he said.
The navy has completed a review of ranks held by sailors, inherited from the British, and is set to replace them with Indianised designations as part of a larger drive to jettison colonial military traditions, HT reported on October 9. Gender-neutral changes to the ranks will also be announced shortly.
More than 65,000 sailors will now get new ranks.
The ranks that will be made to align with Indian traditions are Master Chief Petty Officer Ist Class, Master Chief Petty Officer IInd Class, Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer, Leading Seaman, Seaman Ist Class and Seaman IInd Class, HT has learnt.
Officer ranks will stay.
The PM, who witnessed an operational demonstration by warships, submarines, aircraft and the elite marine commandos from Sindhudurg’s Tarkarli beach, emphasised the government’s resolve to strengthen Nari Shakti in the armed forces while congratulating the navy on the landmark appointment of a woman as the commanding officer of warship. Lieutenant Commander Prerna Deosthalee is set to assume command of fast attack craft INS Trinkat, the development coming three decades after the navy began inducting women as officers, along with the other two services.
INS Trinkat, which was commissioned into the navy in September 2000, carries a crew of around 50. Named after an island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the ship is equipped with anti-surface and anti-air guns, as well as medium and heavy machine guns.
In his 23-minute speech, PM Modi touched upon the country’s rich maritime heritage, how Shivaji’s navy shaped India as a naval power, the rejection of the politics of negativity by people in the context of the election results on Sunday, the country’s rise as an economic powerhouse, self-reliance achievements and India’s march towards becoming a developed nation.
PM Modi said the trust of 140 crore Indians was the country’s biggest strength as it was setting big goals and working to achieve them with full determination. This strength is the power of the world’s biggest democracy, he said.
“You saw the reflection of this strength in four states yesterday. A glimpse of positive outcomes of unity of resolutions, emotions and aspirations is visible as people of the diverse states are being driven by the spirit of ‘nation first.’ Today, the country has taken inspiration from history and is busy preparing a roadmap for a bright future. People have pledged to move forward in every field by defeating the politics of negativity. This pledge will take us towards a developed India.”
He said India’s history was not just about slavery, defeats and disappointments, but it also held glorious chapters of victories, courage, knowledge, science, art, creative skills and maritime capabilities. Noting that it was the country’s maritime power that first came under attack by foreign powers, PM Modi said that India, which was famous for making ships and boats, lost control of the sea and a key strategic economic strength.
He said India was now regaining its lost glory and highlighted the government’s efforts to boost the blue economy.
“This is that period of India’s history, which is going to write the future not just of five to 10 years but for the coming centuries.” He said measures like the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor will recreate the lost Spice route.
He also touched upon the strength of Made in India by citing light combat aircraft Tejas, Kisan Drone, Unified Payments Interface system, Chandrayaan-3, and aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
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