Back in September 2008 we wrote about India’s decision to build an airbase in Tajik-i-stan, a decision that marked India’s outward vision in the vast region from the Straits of Hormuz to the Straits of Malacca and northward into Central Asia. At that time, William Cohen (a secretary for defense in the Clinton Administration) said:
- “India sees itself in a different light — not looking so much inward and looking at Pakistan, but globally, …. “It’s sending a signal that it’s going to be a big player.”
A part of that “big player” vision was realized this week with the launch of INS Vikrant, India’s first domestically built aircraft carrier. INS Vikrant will have its own task force with destroyers & frigates, a task force that will enable the Indian Navy to operate away from Indian shores.
- “India can both influence and coordinate potential security solutions to regional concerns. Having an open ocean capability naval task group to contribute adds to India’s clout and options. It needn’t join in a multilateral response but can do so, or establish a separate independent presence, if it chooses,” said Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain who now teaches at Hawaii Pacific University.
The name INS Vikrant is a great choice in that it remembers the major role played by the first INS Vikrant in the 1971 war for liberation of Bangla Desh. At that time, “INS Vikrant along with two leopard class frigates, a Petya corvette and a foxtrot class submarine formed the eastern fleet“. And it played a pivotal role in the 1971 war:
- “At the daybreak of 4th December, the sea hawks of Vikrant struck Chittagong and cox Bazar harbors sinking all the ships present there.”
- “Strikes continued till 10th December on Khulna and port of Mongla in East Pakistan. Vikrant’s seahawks also supplemented the naval blockade of East Pakistan. On 14th December a final blow was delivered on the barracks in Chittagong and in Cox Bazar.”
By naming its new aircraft carrier as INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy has paid a golden tribute to the 1971 carrier & its winning history. At the same time, the new INS Vikrant heralds a new era, an era of strategic partnership with the US Navy in the vast Indian Ocean. No two services are so in congruence in a vital area in the world as the US Navy & the Indian Navy.
Mental Independence of India
Back in 2014, we began using this phrase to describe what PM Narendra Modi means to India & the Indian people. Then in May 2019, we reiterated this theme during the re-election campaign of Shree Modi:
- “And this is an all-Indian electorate, not the BrIndian self-proclaimed elite of India. Their choice is Indian traditions, Indian culture & Indian Dharma. And no leader represents these like Narendra Modi.”
How mentally independent is Modi’s India & the Indian Navy? Look at the new ensign unveiled with the launch of INS Vikrant:
The Octogonal shape & the Golden border is from the Mudra (philosophical seal) of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the icon of Indian Independence, a man of whom Field Marshal Monty Montgomery wrote that “ a man like Shivaji comes along once in 1,000 years“.
Hear directly from the Indian Navy what the new ensign stands for:
It was Shivaji Maharaj who launched the Indian Navy on the West Coast of India when the rest of India was under the sway of Timurid-Mongols (called Moguls by the British). Under Sarkhel (Admiral) Kanhoji Angre (1689-1729), this fledgling navy rose to dominate the western coastline. After several successful battles with the British & Portuguese navies, he established the primacy of the Marathi Indian Navy. And for almost 50 years, every British, Portuguese & Dutch ship had to carry permission papers from Angre to enter & leave India’s western coast.
The Indian Navy has been totally aware & proud of Shivaji Maharaj & Kanhoji Angre. That is why the seat of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command is INS Angre, named after Admiral Kanhoji Angre.
With this new ensign, the Indian Navy & PM Modi have firmly & proudly thrown out the British history & the Brit-servile mindset and resurrected Indian history & Indian achievements. This is what we call Mental Independence.
Look at the Vedic invocation to Varun, the God of the Waters & Sea from an ancient UpaNiSad – शं नो वरुणः in the ensign. And look at the Three Lions of Emperor Ashok, the great Maurya emperor who spread Buddhism to the rest of the World.
The Indian Navy, under its fiercely Indian PM Modi, is proudly announcing its new vision with the launch of INS Vikrant & its new all-Indian ensign. Both are aware that this is a first step and there is lot further to go. But it is equally true that the smaller states in the vast Indian Ocean region are pleased with this outreach of the Indian Navy. Unlike China, India is viewed correctly as a helpful power & not a colonial power seeking to seize regions under the guise of providing developmental aid.
After all, that is the message of the Mudra of Shivaji Maharaj – “Mudra Bhadraaya Raajate”:
मुद्रा भद्राय राजते
Mudra rules for the noble good
Editor’s PS – We ask readers to check with the BrIndians they know in America, Europe, Asia & India how much they know of Shivaji Maharaj & the Indian Navy. Just as their navy ruled the western coastline, the successors of Shivaji Maharaj dominated virtually all of today’s India by 1760. So the ignorance of your BrIndian friends will tell you what mental servility means.
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