President reviews the Indian Navy
President Pranab Mukherjee embarked on the Presidential Yacht 'INS Sumitra', along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar among others, to inspect the Indian Naval Fleet at the International Fleet Review 2016. The INS Sumitra sailed through a display of 70 ships at anchorage off Vishakhapatnam. The President also reviewed the Indian Navy's air arm in a specactular fly-past by several aircraft.
The IFR logo
The logo for the International Fleet Review is designed in a way so that the initials I, F, R are coordinated in a fashion so as to represent the three aspects of the Navy- ships, aircraft, and submarines.
What is the IFR?
Fleet reviews are long-standing naval traditions followed by navies worldwide. In India, the President, as the Supreme Commander of the nation's armed forces reviews the Indian Naval Fleet once during his tenure. Then the navies engage in naval exercises. Since independence in 1947, there has been 10 reviews. India's first IFR was held in 2001 in Mumbai. The IFR 2016 will be the second.
The IFR 2001
India's first International Fleet Review in 2001, held by the Indian Navy in Mumbai, became one of the world's biggest fleet reviews, even bigger than the Millennium Review conducted by USA in New York Harbour in 2000.
Over 50 nations to participate in IFR
The International Fleet Review 2016, held by the Indian Army from 4-8 February 2016 will see participation from from over 50 navies worldwide. The event, meant to enhance mutual trust and confidence among maritime neighbours, will take place at Vishakhapatnam, seat of India's Eastern Naval Command. It will be attended by the President, Pranab Mukherjee, PM Modi, and Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar among others.
The IFR 2016
Over 87 countries were invited for the International Fleet Review 2016, including 17 of India's littoral neighbours. With 50 countries attending, the event will see around 100 Indian and foreign warships involved along with around 60 aircrafts.
China's IFR participation likely, Pak gives unfavourable response
Among the 50 nations attending the IFR 2016, major invitees include China, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan. Navy Chief RK Dhowan said in a press conference that "the PLA navy is likely to participate with a ship and a delegation". As for Pakistan, Dhowan said the Indian "High Commission in Islamabad has informed us that they have not received favourable response from them (Pakistan)."
IFR 2016 begins
India's east coast saw a surge of activity as the International Fleet Review 2016 began. Apart from around 70 Indian Navy vessels, ships from the Indian Coast Guard and Mercantile Marine are also expected to participate. 50 foreign navies and 24 foreign ships are participating in the IFR 2016 - the largest military exercise to be hosted by India so far.