President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday awarded the President’s Colour to the Indian Naval Aviation at INS Hansa in Goa. The President’s Colour is the highest honour bestowed on a military unit in recognition of exceptional service rendered to the nation both in peace and in war.

“Naval aviation has contributed through numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, during which it has provided relief to fellow citizens like the recently conducted rescue operations off Mumbai during cyclone Tauktae in May 2021. It has also provided crucial assistance to several neighbouring countries and nations in the Indian Ocean Region,” Kovind said. A ceremonial parade with a 150-man guard of honour was presented before the President on the occasion.

Kovind also recalled the contribution of INS Vikrant with its integral aircraft which played a crucial role in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

The Navy was the first Indian armed force to receive the President’s Colour in 1951 from the then president Dr Rajendra Prasad. Subsequent recipients in the Navy include Southern Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Western Naval Command, Eastern Fleet, Western Fleet, Submarine Arm, INS Shivaji and the Indian Naval Academy, the Navy said.

Its aviation arm came into existence with the acquisition of the first Sealand aircraft on January 13, 1951 and the commissioning of INS Garuda in Kochi on May 11, 1953.

“Naval aviation has distinguished itself with notable and gallant service to our nation over the past seven decades,” the Navy said in a statement on Monday.

“Today, Naval Aviation boasts of nine Air Stations and three Naval Air Enclaves, along the Indian coastline and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Over the past seven decades, it has transformed into a modern, technologically advanced and highly potent force, with more than 250 aircraft comprising Fighters, Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft, Helicopters and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA),” it said.

The President said naval aviation has come of age with the perseverance of the national leadership. Governor of Goa PS Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, Union Minister of State for Tourism, Ports Shipping and Waterways Shripad Naik, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar and Flag Officer Naval Aviation Rear Admiral Philipose G Pynumootil attended the event.

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