What was just a four-day IFR-16 event for the world, will be cherished by Vizagites for many years to come. The clean streets, the enhanced greenery, the coloured lights and the largesse of it all were reminiscent of a grand shaadi where we Vizagites were the hosts. And today, long after the foreign ships have gone, we are left with memories and ‘did you know’ facts. We bring you the top 16. Be sure to show off!
- This was the 11th fleet review after independence and the second International Fleet Review conducted in India, with the last one having been held in Mumbai in 2001.
- As compared to the 29 countries that participated in 2001, the numbers doubled with 50 countries participating this year. Participating nations included Indonesia, US, UK, Bangladesh, Malaysia and even Australia.
- The dolphin was the chosen mascot for the event titled ‘United through oceans’, with Ahoy! Hello! Namaste! being their catchy theme song.
One of India’s mega events, and definitely Vizag’s biggest event, it saw 71 frontline ships and submarines along with 60 aircrafts from the Indian Navy. They include 65 Indian navy ships, 3 submarines, 2 Coast Guard ships and 3 from the mercantile marine. Of these, 37 ships were completely made in India, a number that is bound to increase in the future.
The Indian ships included aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, minesweepers, training vessels, research vessels and also submarines and coast guard ships.
- The fly–past by Naval Air Arm comprising 15 formations of 45 aircraft including two formations from the Indian Coast Guard. Their latest acquisitions that were showcased included the MiG 29K, Long Range MR aircraft P8I and AEW helicopter KM-31.
There were 28 foreign warships that participated from 24 nations, posing a huge security challenge.
The event saw many visitors, including 21 Navy Chiefs, ambassadors from other nations, and military officers, and of course the top Indian leadership, including the President, Prime Minister, defence minister, governors and chief minister.
- As part of the Green Initiative, Indian Navy showcased two fast interceptor crafts (FICs) using bio-diesel. It has also shifted its lighting of ships to LED lights from conventional incandescent lamps. The Indian Navy eventually plans to turn the Indian Navy into a Green Fleet.
#10 Over 5,000 additional sanitary workers, 2,000 labourers, 1,000 skilled workers, 300 gardeners and many others were pressed into service to spruce up Vizag. Most of these employees are daily wage earners and many were working two shifts a day therefore doubling their incomes.
- 600,000 people attended the show on 7th February, as against the expected 150,000 people for whom colour coded passes had been issued. The crowd beat the expectations of the organizers not only by their numbers but by their patriotic fervour.
- Despite the crowds having swelled up to 4 times the expected number and the roads of Vizag having been choked with enthusiastic onlookers, the event was wonderfully managed with minimal incidents of misbehaviour.
- The IFR village was a huge attraction for people. With 102 stalls from across different states in the country, the village showcased the range of Indian handicrafts, art and dance forms along with food!
- The Maritime exhibition acted as the perfect platform for the 74 stalls which showcased the Indian Navy’s self reliance. Indian industries and organizations like BHEL, BDL and HAL were part of this event.
- The Indian Ocean region actually has become the world’s center of gravity in the maritime domain because 66% of the world’s oil, 50% of the world’s container traffic, 33% of the world’s cargo traffic passes through these waters
- It was an event that showcased complete wholehearted participation by not only the Indian Navy, but also the government officials who worked day and night to make this show a grand success. Special mention goes to the Collector, Andhra Pradesh State Police and its Commissioner, GVMC and its Commissioner, VUDA, the Port authority, traffic and transport monitoring authorities and at the end level-people, who treated the IFR like it was ‘their’ personal event.