Muscles in the sea

Time to celebrate, hail the force that fortifies the oceans. The day is observed in commemoration of Operation Trident and to salute the bravery of the Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy Day is celebrated every day on December 4. It marks the Indian Navy’s Operation Trident that took place in the year 1971. The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. An attack launched by the Indian Navy on Karachi harbour during 1971’s Indo-Pakistan war. It was for the first time that an anti-ship missile was used in the operation. The operation was conducted on the night of December 4-5 and it inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani vessels. However, India did not suffer any loss during this operation.

About Indian Navy Motto: The Indian Navy’s Motto is – Sam no Varunah which means that the God of water, Varuna, should be auspicious unto us. The Navy has steadily increased its powers since Indian independence. Our warships and missiles can hit targets under the sea, over the sea, and on the sea surface.

An ode to the guardian angel

On December 4 when the Indian Navy, during the India-Pakistan war of 1971, attacked the Pakistani Naval Headquarters in Karachi. Nearly 300 soldiers died and 700 were injured in the attack. This operation is famously known as Operation Trident. The hostilities had their origins in Pakistan’s mass atrocities on its eastern front. Some believe 3 million people died. Around 10 million people from east Pakistan crossed to border and sought refuge in India. When India gradually began supporting east Pakistan’s liberation movement, Pakistan attacked 11 air bases in India. India’s retaliation included Operation Trident. Since the only link between east and west Pakistan was by sea, India decided to strike Pakistan’s maritime capability. Pakistan did not have night fighter aircraft, hence the operation was carried out after sunset. The attack destroyed Pakistan’s major fuel reserves and ammunition stocks. The group of attacking vessels are known as the Killer Squadron. The war ended on 16th December 1971 with the liberation of east Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. Theme of Navy Day 2019: The theme is “Indian Navy – Silent, Strong and Swift.”

celebrations across India

Final Dress rehearsal was held at the Gateway of India a monument in Mumbai.

The Navy organises a Beating Retreat and Tattoo Ceremony at Gateway of India, Mumbai on the eve of the Navy Day. This is especially for the show to the general public, where India Naval Band performs in the city of Mumbai.

The warships of Southern Naval Command were also dressed with multiple signal flags to mark the occasion.

In Visakhapatnam, the Eastern Naval Command showcases the Indian Navy’s operational capabilities and activities that have been taken up by the Indian navy on the high seas with an Operational Demonstration at RK Beach to commemorate the Navy Day celebrations.

The Navy Day operation demonstration gives an opportunity to the public to have a closer glimpse at the multifarious activities of the Navy and the challenges that naval personnel come across at sea as part of their day to day responsibility towards the securing the Nations interest and sea coast security.

Eastern Naval Command organised a Navy Symphonic Band Concert with its team of skilled musician sailors at Samudrika Auditorium.

This year, Navy Day celebrations took place in Cheriya Kadamakud, Kerala. This is the village where various rehabilitation and humanitarian assistance programmes were initiated by the Indian Navy, in the aftermath of the devastating floods of August 2018 in which the Navy had saved about 17000 people.

The strategic challenges

The broader strategic challenges is likely to face in the near future would be maritime and not continental. China’s naval modernization and the emergence of a coalition in maritime countries like Japan, Australia, the United States of America and India under the umbrella of the Indo-Pacific show that conflict and competition in Asia are turning towards the sea.

How India responds to these shifts and challenges will be significant not only for the Indian navy but also for India as it claims to be a stakeholder in Asia. Enhancing maritime consciousness is an important challenge in this respect. The maritime issue in India has been neglected since Independence on account of two factors: excessive concentration on continental threats emanating from the north and northwestern frontiers; the distance between maritime boundaries and New Delhi. China’s naval modernization in the Indian Ocean, the US’s ‘pivot to Asia’, along with India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policies have stoked maritime consciousness in India’s strategic thought. Traditionally, the Indian navy has been the neglected branch of the armed forces.

The flashback

Karachi was attacked again on Dec 07/08, 71, this time from the West. INSVinash fired 4 missiles which damaged MV Gulf Star, MV Harmatton & PN Tanker Dacca & left Kiamari oil fields ablaze. In rememberance of these valiant actions, 04 Dec was declared as Indian Navy Day.

Just prior midnight of Dec 4, 71, IndianNavy missile boats carried out successful attacks resulting in sinking of Pakistani Destroyer Khaiber, Minesweeper Muhafiz and MV Venus Challenger as well as destruction of Kiamari oil fields.

Following Pakistani attack on Indian air bases on the evening of Dec 03, 71, the 25th Missile Vessel Squadron was ordered to dispatch three missile boats – Nirghat, Veer and Nipat at maximum speed towards Karachi.

This feat was accomplished by the 25th Missile Vessel Squadron of WesternNavalCommand during #OpTrident & OpPython displaying determination and resoluteness of men with an unprecedented strategy.

IndianNavy in 1971, wrote a new chapter in history with first ever pre-emptive naval strike post World War II which witnessed swift attack on Pakistani vessels and port facilities at Karachi during the 1971 Indo Pak War.