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Travelogue of Philately

This section 'Travelogue of Philately' carries compilation of stories on any aspect of philately with relevant information about its journey. In other words it provides a complete 'travelogue' of the topic or event.

Current story is about President’s International Fleet Review

President’s International Fleet Review

A Naval Fleet Review is a long-standing tradition followed by Navies all over the world. It is a grand occasion when every operational ship is spruced up, proudly displaying its crest and its company in spirit of loyalty and allegiance to the country. The idea of a Review was perhaps conceived as a show of naval might or an inspection of readiness for battle at sea. It still has the same connotation, but assembling the warships for peaceful purposes is now the norm of modern times. Later reviews were used as a celebratory demonstration for victories in battle or for other special occasions.

Sometimes ships have sailed across seas to participate in fleet reviews of friendly nations. These reviews inspired the sailors to avow their allegiance to their country and preserve it sovereignty. It is indeed a strong bond which links seafarers of the world and often follows exactly the same drill even on different continents.

Post independence, traditionally, the President, as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces reviews the Fleet once during his tenure. In this most formal of naval ceremonies, ships, submarines and aircrafts from all the Naval Commands, ships from the Indian Coast Guard and vessels from the Merchant Navy (during war /adversities some of the merchant ships also join to support the Naval effort in fighting the enemy), are ceremonially dressed up with families embarked, and anchored in lines at the precise spot allotted to them. Where International Fleet Review’s are conducted even Foreign War ships from friendly countries take part in the ceremonial event.

After a 21 gun salute, the President embarks on the Presidential Yacht, distinguished by the Ashoka Emblem on her side and reviews all the ships by cruising past them. Each ship is manned by her ship’s company, dressed sparkling white ceremonial uniforms. In a moment that stands still in time, white caps are doffed in unison in a grand salutation. The resounding sound of three “jais” echoes over the waves, carrying the promise of the allegiance of each and every sailor and officer to the Nation and the President, their Supreme Commander. It is this bond that will carry them through the adversity of war and make the supreme sacrifice, if needed.

The present Fleet Review, which is the 11th review, is being held on the East Coast for the second time. The First Fleet review in the East coast was held in 2006 and reviewed by President APJ Abdul Kalam. Incidentally this is the second International Fleet Review being held in India and the first in East Coast. The last international Fleet review was held in Mumbai in 2001 reviewed by then President Dr K. R. Narayanan.

During the recent International Fleet Review held in February 2016, all the Indian Naval ships and war ships from friendly countries submarines, coast Guard and Merchant ships and vessels were anchored in Bay of Bengal off Visakhapatnam harbour and were reviewed by President Pranab Mukherjee on 6th February, 2016.

President Pranav Mukherjee reviewing Fleets at IFR2016

Presidents review A Philatelist’s delight

For a Philatelist a person who is keenly interested in collection of stamps, special covers and First Day covers) many subjects are interesting on which he concentrates on his collections. For a person who is interested in his collections on Defense theme that too the Indian Navy, President’s Fleet Review, which rarely takes places, that too the rarest International Fleet Review is an interesting subject.

All the stamps and First day covers issued during the earlier presidential Fleet reviews are illustrated here. During the last International Fleet Review held in February 2016, a commemorative stamp and first day cover were released by the President of India on 6th February 2016 to commemorate the event at the Naval Base, Visakhapatnam.

Stamps issued for Fleet Review 1984
Fig. 01, Four stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 1984
(Issue Date: 12.02.1984)
First Day Cover issued for Fleet Review 1984
Fig. 02, First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 1984
(Issue Date: 12.02.1984)
Stamp issued on President's Fleet Review 1989
Fig. 03, Stamp issued on President's Fleet Review 1989
(Issue Date: 15.02.1989)
First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 1989
Fig. 04, First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 1989
(Issue Date: 15.02.1989)
Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Fig. 05, Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
(Issue Date: 18.02.2001)
First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Fig. 06, First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
(Issue Date: 18.02.2001)
President’s Fleet Review 2006 Visakhapatnam Block of 4 Stamps
Fig. 07, Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2006
(Issue Date: 11.02.2006)
First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2001
Fig. 08, First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2006
(Issue Date: 11.02.2006)
Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
Fig. 09, Four Stamps issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
(Issue Date: 19.12.2011)
First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
Fig. 10, First Day Cover issued on President's Fleet Review 2011
(Issue Date: 19.12.2011)
Stamp issued on International Fleet Review 2016
Fig. 11, Stamp issued on International Fleet Review 2016
(Issue Date: 06.02.2016)
First Day Cover issued on International Fleet Review 2016
Fig. 12, First Day Cover issued on International Fleet Review 2016
(Issue Date: 06.02.2016)
My Stamp Sheet issued on International Fleet Review 2016
Fig. 13, My Stamp Sheet issued on International Fleet Review 2016
(Issue Date: 06.02.2016)

About the author: Cdr G Sri Ramarao, born and brought up and studied in Visakhapatnam joined the Indian Navy after excelling in the National Cadets Corps. He participated in the Republic Day parade in 1962. He was among the first batch of officers trained in Russia on surface-to-surface P-15 missile systems in 1969. Later, he also went on to become the first gunner officer to fire the surface-to-surface missile from the Indian Navy in 1970. He is also among the eight retired officers selected to participate in the parade during International Fleet Review 2016 held at Visakhapatnam.

Cdr G Sri Ramarao, is also an accomplished musician, philatelist and numismatist of National Repute. He collects on the theme of Music and the Indian Navy and has the collection of stamps, First Day Covers and Special covers issued on the Indian Navy since Independence.

His collection of stamps, coins and currency all over the world on the topic of music, and all the stamps, Special covers and First Day covers on Presidential Fleet Review were exhibited in the Naval section of Visakha Museum from 4th to 8th Feb 2016.

Contributed by Cdr G. Sriramarao, I.N. (Retd), Visakhapatnam

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