President Patil reviews naval fleet

Mumbai : Reviewing the fleet of 81 ships and 44 aircraft as part of the 10th Presidential Fleet Review, President Pratibha Patil sailed on board INS Subhadra Tuesday.

Patil was accompanied by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the three service chiefs and four cabinet ministers on board the off-shore patrol vessel, guarded by the elite marine commandos.

The review began with the guard of honour by 150 men and a 21-gun salute to the president who is the Supreme Commander of Inian armed forces.

Sailing between the rows of ships, Patil first reviewed the INS Agray – an anti-submarine patrol vessel. The sailors on board took off their caps and hailed their Supreme Commander with shouts of ‘Rashtrapati ki Jai’. Patil responded with a salute to each of the ships she reviewed.

The 81 warships displayed included the country’s lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Shivalik and Talwar class frigates, kilo-class submarines and 10 vessels of the Coast Guard.

The fleet review also saw participation of three merchant vessels, Sea Cadet Corps and 44 aircraft, including the Navy’s latest acquisition, the MiG 29K, which was part of the fly-past.

As the Supreme Commander of India’s armed forces, Patil had earlier flown in a Sukhoi fighter jet and rode a battle tank of the army.

Highest level of security arrangements by the navy was put in place to secure the sea for the event.

Each ship participating in the review is being guarded by its own security detail apart from the anti-missile batteries activated by the navy to tackle any threat.

All maritime traffic in the sea was halted until after the review and the Mumbai Police set traffic diversions en route the roads leading to the naval dockyard here in south Mumbai.

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