PM Modi unveils new ensign of Indian Navy; pic released

PM Modi unveils new ensign of Indian Navy; pic released

The Indian Navy will relinquish a Colonial-era vestige, the Cross of St George on its flag, and will adopt a new Naval Ensign (Nishaan).

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 in Kochi.

The Indian Navy will relinquish a Colonial-era vestige, the Cross of St George on its flag, and will adopt a new Naval Ensign (Nishaan).

At present, the naval ensign has a red cross set on a white background, with the national emblem placed at the intersection and the Indian flag in the top left quadrant.

The new ensign has the national flag on the upper canton. A blue octagonal shape with the national emblem sits atop an anchor, superimposed on a shield with the navy's motto.

"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," the navy said in video showcasing the new ensign. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's fleet comprised "60 fighting ships and approximately 5,000 men. The rising Maratha naval power during Shivaji Maharaj's period was the first to secure the coastline against external aggression," the navy said in the video. The navy said the blue octagonal shape represents the eight directions symbolising the Indian Navy's multidirectional reach and multidimensional operational capability. The anchor symbol represents "steadfastness", the navy said. What is a Naval Ensign As the name suggests, a naval ensign is a flag that is installed atop naval warships, on ground stations, at air bases and other institutions used as a form of maritime identification.

Indian naval ensign is also known as 'Nishaan' meaning symbol. Every country's navy has its own ensign which can be the same as their country's flag or a distant one.

PM Modi unveils new ensign of Indian Navy; pic released
PM Modi commissions INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier

For example, the US Navy's ensign is the same as its national flag but many other navies have distinctive naval ensigns which are used by their war vessels. The existing ensign of the Indian Navy draws its origin from the colonial past. On October 2, 1934, the naval service was renamed Royal Indian Navy (RIN), with its headquarters at Bombay (now Mumbai) and the ensign also changed to the one used by the Royal Navy till 1950. From 1950 to 2001, the navy's ensign was the St George's Cross on a white background, with the national flag in the upper canton before it was changed in 2001.

Between 2001 and 2004, the Indian Navy adopted an Indianised ensign that showed only the Indian flag and the navy crest, bringing in commonality with the flags of the Indian Air Force and Indian Army that have the national flag and the respective service crests set on red and blue backgrounds, respectively. The Army and Air Force adopted their current ensigns in 1950. In 2004, the Indian Navy returned to its pre-2001 ensign with the addition of the state emblem placed at the intersection of the cross. The next change in ensign came in 2014 when "Satyamev Jayate" were placed under the national emblem at the centre of the St George's Cross.

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