President Ram Nath Kovind presented the President’s Standard award to the 22nd Missile Vessels Squadron of the Indian Navy at a ceremony held in the naval dockyard on Wednesday morning. The President’s Standard is the highest honour bestowed by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces to a military unit in recognition of the service rendered to the nation.
Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind said, “The presentation of the Standard is a testimony to the exceptional service rendered by officers and sailors, past and present, of this squadron to our nation.” He recalled the role played by the 22nd Missile Squadron in sinking Pakistan naval ships during the 1971 war.
Expressing happiness over Indian Navy’s commitment towards indigenization as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat vision, the President said, “This commitment of the Navy is a tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who is regarded by many historians as the founder of India’s battle-ready naval force in the 17th century.”
The President said that India is a maritime nation and the Indian Navy has a huge role to play in furtherance of our foreign policy and in protecting our national interests and commercial aspirations. “It is a matter of great satisfaction that the Indian Navy has been successfully safeguarding our extensive maritime interests with resolve and tenacity,” he said.
The President further said that a large share of global maritime trade transits through the Indian Ocean Region.
Therefore, maintaining peace and tranquility in this region is of paramount importance, not only for India, but also for the entire global community. “Today, as one of the largest navies in the world, the Indian Navy is looked upon by our maritime neighbours as a preferred security partner in the Indian Ocean region,” he added.
Kovind also lauded the role played by the Indian Navy in rendering assistance to the people during humanitarian crises or natural disasters and praised its role in repatriation of citizens during Covid-19 pandemic and rescue operations during Cyclone Tauktae off the western coast.
The President’s Standard ceremony witnessed an immaculately conducted ceremonial parade that began with the naval armed guard presenting a salute of arms to the President and was followed by the presentation of the Standard.
The ceremony concluded with a Continuity Drill performance by naval personnel and an operational demonstration by Marine Commandos and naval helicopters. It was attended by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar and Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, who heads the western naval command.
The 22nd Missile Vessels Squadron was formally established at Mumbai in October 1991 with 10 Veer Class and three Prabal Class missile boats. However, the genesis of ‘Killers’ dates back to the year 1969, with the induction of OSA I Class missile boats from the erstwhile USSR to bolster the strength of the Indian Navy.
During the 1971 war, the youngest warriors of a young Indian Navy drew first blood when they launched a devastating offensive on the Pakistan Navy. Indian Navy ships Nirghat, Nipat and Veer fired their Styx missiles and sank Pakistan Navy ships Khyber and Muhafiz, delivering a deathly blow to aspirations of the Pakistan Navy.
Codenamed Op Trident, the operation is considered to be one of the most successful operations in modern naval history. The Indian Navy also carried out another daring attack on December 8 and 9, when INS Vinash, along with two frigates, launched four Styx missiles, sinking the Pakistan Naval Fleet Tanker Dacca and causing substantial damage to the Keamari Oil Storage Facility in Karachi. It is because of these heroic deeds of the ships and men of the Squadron that they earned the title of ‘Killers’.
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