The Western Naval Command celebrated 'NAVY DAY 2011' with a colourful pageantry which was an unique amalgam of several elements that exemplify the Indian Navy's ongoing effort to showcase India's rich military- maritime traditions and to seamlessly integrate the outgoing generation with the incoming one manifesting this year's theme of 'The Indian Navy – Safe Seas and secure coasts for a strong Nation'.
The ceremonies, held at the Gateway of India today 04 Dec 2011, was centred upon the globally – renowned Indian Navy Marching Band comprising of musicians drawn from across India. The Marine Commandos displayed their skills with their induction from a Seaking helicopter, undertaking an anti terrorist operation and extracting swiftly from the target area. No sooner had the Seaking helicopter extracted the commandos and cleared the area, the Marching contingent comprising of the Navy Band, Cadets of the Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) and Flag bearers carrying the Tri Colour, Naval Ensign, Flag of SCC, the Flag of the City of Mumbai (BMC) and the Flag of the Western Naval Command smartly entered the histrionic precincts of the Gateway of India and positioned themselves for a splendid performance that was to follow immediately after the arrival of the Chief Guest.
The Chief Guest, Shri. K Sankaranarayanan, HE the Governor of Maharashtra, was received by Vice Admiral DK Joshi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. From then onwards for about an hour, it was a spectacular display of drills by the Navy Band, the cadets of SCC, helicopters of the Indian Navy, an armed Guard, and finally fireworks and illumination of Naval warships anchored off the Gateway.
The manoeuvres by the Navy Band became more sombre with Sunset when the Naval Ensign, fluttering atop the Gateway of India, was lowered with the Band playing 'Retreat', a modern innovation of a tradition to recall troops from the battlefield to their billeting - area. In quick succession, Naval Chetak and Seaking helicopters flew past the Gateway in Arrowhead formation with the lead helicopters displaying the Tricolour and Naval Ensign.
From the nearly forgotten annals of Maritime History, about 55 girl Cadets along with young Drummers and Flag Bearers of the SCC, brought forth one of the most traditional of Maritime Dances 'The Sailors' Hornpipe'. Emphasizing the Military underlay of the evening was the unique display of Silent Drill called 'Continuity Drill' by the Standing Guard of the Western Naval Command. The highlight of this drill was that it was performed without any orders. Another aspect that drew the attention of the spectators was the marching of the Guard Commander between the two columns of sailors were either passing their rifles or rotating them with fire at the bayonet end of the rifle.
This was followed by the 'Tattoo' - beating of drums within the billeting-area for ordering troops to their quarters. A similar display 'Light Tattoo: Drummers Call' was performed by a group of Drummers of the Navy Band - both with the spotlights on and also in the dark when lights were switched off, only to provide a blue taint to their performance. Bringing to an end the celebrations of Navy Day 2011 was the simultaneous illumination of warships anchored off the Gateway of India highlighting their silhouettes. Deviating from the past and the Navy's concern for preserving the environment, the traditional Fireworks display at the end of the Navy Day was done away with this year.