Within less than 24 hours of the results of the assembly elections in five states being declared, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sounded the bugle for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2024 from the sands of Tarkarli beach in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra.
The occassion was a program to mark Navy Day, 2023 at which "operational demonstrations" were given by Indian Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and special forces.
Modi unveils Shivaji Maharaj statue at Rajkot Fort
PM Modi not only unveiled a spectacular statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj installed at Rajkot Fort of Sindhudurg, but also announced that the epaulettes of Indian Naval officers will be changed to reflect the maritime legacy of the famed Maratha warrior.
The evocative references to Chhatrapati Shivaji were significant in the context of the ongoing agitation by the Marathas demanding that they be included in the Other Backward Castes list.
"The Sindhudurg Fort instills a feeling of pride in every citizen of India," Modi said even as he underlined Shivaji Maharaj’s foresight in recognizing the importance of naval capabilities for any nation. He paid rich tributes to Chhatrapati Shivaji's military feats and also bowed to the memory of his close strategists like Kanhoji Angre, Mayaji Naik Bhatkar and Hiroji Indulkar.
PM impressed with Naval epaulettes
He expressed happiness that the epaulettes donned by the Naval Officers will now highlight the heritage and legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji as they will be similar to the naval ensign which was changed last year. Prime Minister announced that the Indian Navy is now going to name its ranks in line with Indian traditions. He also congratulated the Indian Navy on the appointment of India’s first woman commanding officer in a naval ship.
Constantly delving into history, PM Modi said India’s past capabilities were revealed in the construction of forts like the one at Sindhudurg with technology and resources next to none. He mentioned the heritage of the Indus Valley Civilization port found in Lothal, Gujarat and the docking of more than 80 ships in the port of Surat. He also observed the Chola empires maritime expansion to South East Asia.
India marching towards strong blue economy
He said it was significant that foreign powers first targeted India's maritime power. He said India was now marching towards a strong blue economy.
Interestingly he emphasised about the development of Konkan region, where the Shiv Sena (UBT) has a sizable presence. “Konkan is a region of unprecedented possibilities”, the Prime Minister said. Highlighting the government’s commitment to the development of the region, he mentioned the inauguration of medical colleges in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Alibaug, Parbhani and Dharashiv, operations of Chipi Airport, and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor connecting till Mangaon.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh, chief minister Eknath Shinde, deputy Cms Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar and governor Ramesh Bais were among those who attended the event which was hosted by Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff and conducted by Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command.