Thursday, August 16, 2018
Sandeep Singh with inputs from Carl G. Holmes
Fiji was the first place where the Indian national flag was hoisted on the 72nd Independence Day on Wednesday, August 15.
It was a historic occasion as an Indian Naval Ship (INS Sahaydri) had travelled to Fiji on its way back from a joint military exercise in Hawaii to join Indian community in the Port of Suva to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
The flag hoisting ceremony was held in the morning thus giving it a unique recognition of being the first place all around the world to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
INS Sahyadri paraded the Guard, and the flag was hoisted by Vishwas Sapkal, High Commissioner of India to Fiji, with Capt Shantanu Jha, Commanding Officer INS Sahyadri and Capt Manish Rai, Defence Adviser, Indian High Commission.
This was the first instance of an Indian Naval Ship celebrating India's Independence Day at Fiji
INS Sahyadri is on her way home after participating in RIMPAC 2018 (Rim of the Pacific) exercise off Hawaii, along with ships of the US, New Zealand and Australian navies.
The Indian ship had reached the Port of Suva on Monday and stayed in the country for three days with numerous activities along with a professional interaction with their Fiji counterparts, and an open day for the general public on Tuesday.
Apart from the interaction, officers from INS Sahyadri, Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) bands, and Indian High Commission also participated in mangrove/sandalwood planting activities on the second day of its stay in the South Pacific country.
INS Sahyadri (F49) is the third and latest ship among the Shivalik Class of indigenously built stealth frigates and forms a part of the Eastern Fleet of Indian Navy.
Built by the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, INS Sahyadri was launched into the sea in 2005. She undertook sea trials for over a year in 2011-12 and was finally commissioned along with her sisters INS Shivalik (F-47) and INS and Satpura (F-48) into the Indian Navy on July 21, 2012.
The Shivalik-class frigate ship draws her name from the age-defying Western Coast (also known as Sahyadri ranges) stretching across 1,600 km along the Western Coast of India.
INS Sahyadri has also won the Best Ship trophy in the Fleet Award Function of 2018 for its immense contribution in carrying out massive maritime operations in the Eastern front.