Mumbai: After flying in frontline Sukhoi jet and riding a battle tank, President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday set sail in a warship for the first time to review the mammoth naval fleet of the country.
Sailing on-board INS Subhadra, a naval off shore patrol vessel guarded by the elite Marine commandos, the President reviewed a fleet of 81 ships and 44 aircraft as part of the 10th Presidential Fleet Review.
Donning a Navy cap, Patil sat on an elevated platform under a Navy emblem umbrella, created specially for the event on INS Subhadra.
The President was accompanied by Defence Minister A K Antony, the three service chiefs and four Cabinet ministers on-board the warship.
The review began at 9 am with a 150-men Guard of Honour and the customary 21-gun salute accorded to Patil, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Patil began the review by first sailing past the INS Agray - an anti-submarine patrol vessel - as the sailors took off their caps and hailed their Supreme Commander with shouts of 'Rashtrapati ki Jai'.
Patil, in response, stood up and saluted each of the ships. Following the review of its fleet, the Navy will offer a brief glimpse of its air power by flying its fighter, transport and surveillance aircraft during the three-hour journey.
Patil had earlier created history by flying in a Sukhoi fighter jet and riding a battle tank of the Army. To secure the sea for the event, the Navy turned Mumbai anchorage area and its western coast in a fortress by putting in place the highest level of security in recent times.
While 15 different naval and coast guard platforms were deployed to guard the area, round-the-clock air surveillance was being done from INS Shikra.
Anti-missile batteries were activated to tackle any threat and each participating ship in the review was being guarded by its own security detail.
The Navy also stopped all maritime traffic in the sea and the Mumbai Police put in place access control measures on roads leading to Mumbai dockyard for the event.
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