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PM Modi Unveils Navy's New Ensign Inspired By Chhatrapati Shivaji; Explains Significance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a new Naval Ensign during the commissioning of the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier — INS Vikrant.

Image: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unveiled a new Ensign of the Indian Navy during the commissioning of the country's first indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kerala on Friday. 

Shedding its colonial past, the Indian Navy has got a new insignia featuring the Indian Tricolour, replacing the Saint George's cross which featured on the Navy Flag ever since the British instilled it during the pre-independence era.

The new Ensign comprises the National Flag on the upper canton and the blue octagonal shape encompassing the National Emblem sitting atop an anchor depicting steadfastness and superimposed on a shield with the Navy’s motto ‘Sham No Varuna’ in Devnagari. The octagonal shape represents the eight directions symbolizing the Indian Navy’s multi-directional reach and multi-dimensional operational capability. 

It must be noted that the President of India has approved the introduction of the new designs of the Naval Ensign, as also the Distinguishing Flags, Masthead Pennants and Car Flags for the Indian Navy ahead of its grand unveiling today in Kerala's Kochi.

The national motto ‘Satyamev Jayate’ engraved in the Devanagari script, was included underneath the State Emblem. Notably, this white ensign has been flown by all formations, ships and establishments of the Indian Navy till 01 Sep 22. The new Naval White Ensign is rooted in the glorious maritime heritage of India and is designed to reflect our  Navy’s present-day capabilities. 

The Octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet consisting of 60 fighting ships and approximately 5000 men. 

The rising Maratha Naval power during the Shivaji Maharaj period was the first to secure the coastline against external aggression. As India marks its 75th year of Independence, the new Naval Ensign is a step toward liberating the mind and further empowering the indomitable spirit of the Indian Navy. 

Saint George’s cross removed

Dropping the Cross of Saint George, Indan Navy has incorporated the new ensign inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Notably, Saint Geroge’s cross was removed from the flag during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime between 2001 to 2004. However, a month before the UPA government was sworn in, the original ensign was adopted again as there were complaints within the force about the blue in the Naval crest.

The ensign has been selected by the government from around 10 different designs that were given to them by the naval headquarters. The suggestions ranged from depicting 11 waves on the flag representing 11 different coastal states to showcasing the different commands of the force.

The last ensign of the Indian Navy drew its origin in the colonial period. The naval service was renamed Royal Indian Navy (RIN), with its headquarters at Bombay (now Mumbai). With the partition of India, post-independence, the Royal Indian Navy was divided into the Royal Indian Navy and the Royal Pakistan Navy.

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