The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi attended the programme marking ‘Navy Day 2023’ celebrations at Sindhudurg. He also witnessed the ‘Operational Demonstrations’ by Indian Navy’s ships, submarines, aircraft and special forces from Tarkarli beach, Sindhudurg. Modi inspected the guard of honour.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that the historic day of 4th December along the magnificent fort of Sindhudurg on the coast of Malvan, Tarkarli, the splendor of Veer Shivaji Maharaj and the inauguration of his spectacular statue at Rajkot Fort along with the roars of the Indian Navy has filled every citizen of India with passion and enthusiasm. Modi conveyed his best wishes on the occasion of Navy Day and bowed before the brave hearts who laid down their lives for the country.
The Prime Minister said that it is indeed a moment of unprecedented pride to celebrate Navy Day from the victorious land of Sindhudurg. “The Sindhudurg Fort instills a feeling of pride in every citizen of India”, the Prime Minister said as he underlined Shivaji Maharaj’s foresight in recognizing the importance of naval capabilities for any nation. Reiterating Shivaji Maharaj’s acclamation that those who have control over the seas hold the ultimate power, the Prime Minister said that he had drafted a powerful navy. He also bowed before warriors like Kanhoji Angre, Mayaji Naik Bhatkar and Hiroji Indulkar, and said that they remain an inspiration even today.
Inspired by the ideals of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Prime Minister said, the India of today is moving forward abandoning the slavery mentality. He expressed happiness that the epaulettes donned by the Naval Officers will now highlight the heritage and legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as the new epaulettes will be similar to the naval ensign. He also recalled unveiling the Naval Ensign last year. With the feeling of taking pride in one’s heritage, the Prime Minister announced that the Indian Navy is now going to name its ranks in line with Indian traditions. He also emphasized strengthening Nari Shakti in the armed forces. Modi congratulated the Indian Navy on the appointment of India’s first woman commanding officer in a naval ship.
He highlighted India’s capabilities by giving the example of forts like Sindudurg which were erected when technology and resources were 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. The Prime Minister credited India’s maritime strength for the expansion of trade to countries of South East Asia by the Chola Empire. Lamenting that it was the maritime power of India that first came under attack by foreign powers, the Prime Minister said that India which was famous for making boats and ships, lost control of the sea and thereby lost strategic-economic strength. As India is moving towards development, the Prime Minister emphasized regaining the lost glory and highlighted the government’s unprecedented impetus to the Blue Economy. He mentioned the port-led development under ‘Sagarmala’ and said that India is moving towards harnessing the full potential of its oceans under the ‘Maritime Vision’. He informed that the government has made new rules to promote merchant shipping, leading to the number of seafarers in India increasing by more than 140 percent in the last 9 years.
Emphasizing the importance of the present time, the Prime Minister said, “This is that period of India’s history, which is going to write the future not just of 5-10 years but for the coming centuries.” He informed that in the last 10 years, India became 5th largest economy from 10th place and rapidly moving towards 3rd spot. “The World is seeing the rise of a ‘Vishwa Mitra (friend of the world) in India”, Modi said measures like India Middle East European Corridor will recreate the lost spice route. He also touched upon the strength of Made in India and illustrated that with the mention of Tejas, Kisan Drone, UPI system and Chandrayaan-3. Self-reliance in defence is also visible by the imminent start of production of transport aircraft, aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
Reiterating the government’s approach of treating the coastal and border villages as the first villages instead of the last, Modi said “Today, it is the priority of the Central Government to improve the life of every family living on the coastal areas.” He mentioned the creation of the separate fisheries ministry in 2019 and 40 thousand crore rupees investment in the sector. He informed that after 2014 fishery production increased by 8 percent and exports increased by 110 percent. Furthermore, insurance cover for the farmers has been increased from 2 to 5 lakh and they are getting the benefit of the Kisan Credit Card.
Concerning the value chain development in the fisheries sector, the Prime Minister said that the Sagarmala Scheme is strengthening modern connectivity in the coastal areas. Lakhs of crore rupees are being spent on this and new business and industry will come to the coastal areas. Seafood processing-related industry and modernization of the fishing boats are also being undertaken.
“Konkan is a region of unprecedented possibilities”, the Prime Minister said. Highlighting the government’s commitment to the development of the region, the Prime Minister 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. The Prime Minister also mentioned special schemes being drafted for the cashew farmers here. He underlined the government’s priority is to safeguard the residential areas situated on the sea coast. In this effort, he mentioned the emphasis being laid on expanding the scope of mangroves. Prime Minister Modi informed that the many sites of Maharashtra including Malvan, Achara-Ratnagiri, and Devgarh-Vijaydurg have been selected for mangrove management.
“Heritage as well as development, this is our path to a developed India”, the Prime Minister underlined. He said that central and state governments are determined to preserve the forts and forts built during the period of Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj where hundreds of crores of rupees are being spent on the conservation of these heritages in the entire Maharashtra including Konkan. The Prime Minister stated that it would also increase tourism in the area and create new employment and self-employment opportunities.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister talked about the new tradition of holding armed forces day such as Army Day, Navy Day etc outside Delhi as this expands the occasion to all over India and the new places get new attention.