INTERNATIONAL FLEET REVIEW -- MUMBAI, 14 to 18 FEB 2001
Delhi, 27 Jan 2001
International Fleet Review
The Naval event of the year of the East in 2001 is likely to be the International Fleet Review (IFR) to be held in the picturesque Mumbai harbour, right opposite the famous Taj Mahal Hotel, from 14 to 18 Feb 2001. The foreign and Indian ships available for the International Review are:
Such an array of ships has not ever been seen in assembly in South Asia. China has declined the invitation to send any ship but Naval Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar suggested that too much should be read into it as China is due to send ships two months later on a goodwill visit to India. IN ships Delhi and Kora with VADM Vinod Pasricha FOC-in-C East had visited Shanghai in the fall of 2000 and were accorded a most warm welcome. The preparations for IFR under the guidance of VAdm Madhvendra Singh FOC-in-C West are well under way and the event will attract many Navy watchers.
Fleet Review on 17 Feb will be preceded on 16 February by a Seminar on the
theme "Maritime Power and Challenges in the 21st Century", which
should prove illuminating as the gathering will be varied. The IFR has
received confirmation of attendance by 12 Chiefs of Naval Staff and 12
Foreign Flag Officers. The Chiefs who have accepted the invitation are
from Bangladesh, Israel, Morocco and Oman, Vadm D J Shackleton
(Australia), Maj Gen A A Rafrouf (Kenya), VAdm Abu Bakr (Malaysia), Adm VI
Kuroedov (Russia), RAdm Lui Tuck Yew (Singapore) and Adm Sir Nigel
Essenhigh (UK). The Flag Officers expected are VADM Thomas Fargo C-in-C
Pacific Fleet (USA), RAdm Putu Ardana Western Fleet Commander Indonesia,
VAdm Jean-Louis Battet VCNS and RAdm Herve Graud-Alinden from French
Marine, RAdm Somask Thanompol, Thailand and others from Saudi Arabia,
Nigeria, Turkey and Japan.
IFR 2001 will indeed be a land mark event for the Indian Navy as it will be attended by nearly 30 foreign naval ships bristling with weapons, smart officers and crews in a holiday cum work mood and competing to show their own country in good light . After all in peace time Navies are the best Ambassadors a country can provide and this will be treated as a superb opportunity where the Western, NATO and democratic countries' navies will mingle with each other even if their leaders are not favourably inclined . IDC mentions this as Iran is sending a KILO class submarine and another ship to show that they are confident of operating one of the most advanced SSK diesel submarines. The French are fielding a nuclear submarine and USA is positioning its huge and powerful Ticondergoa class missile cruiser that can launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles .
The Review apart the programme is ambitious and varied as there will be 30 foreign delegations and 14 Chiefs of Naval Staff at the Review. No major maritime nation wants to miss the event for the net working or the intelligence that will be gathered and it is a pity China has declined, but their Attaches will be there and the Chinese Navy is calling in the next two months . The International Maritime Seminar is on 16th Feb, the President's Review and illumination of ships is on 17th, a naval Band concert daily for three days, the International City Parade on the Marine Drive India's 'queen's necklace' on 18th along with the Navy and Air Force air display which will be a breath taking and awesome event. A postal stamp will also be released on 18th at the Cultural programme . The Maritime Heritage programme will also be held from the 9th to the 20th .
IDC will attend the Review and report the events and we recommend the All India Radio Commentaries along with the Doordarshan TV viewing. IDC reports indicate that those who saw the picture on the TV and heard the AIR commentary on Republic Day Parade on 26 Jan enjoyed the fare the best.
Sadly it was a disastrous day too, as a massive earthquake hit Western India just an hour before the Parade started causing heavy damage to property and loss of thousands of lives. See our report in Media Watch.