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What is Naval ensign? Why the Indian Navy will get a new flag

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New Delhi, Aug 01: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a new ensign (flag) of the Indian Navy during the commissioning of the country's first indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi, Kerala. The new naval ensign (Nishaan) to be launched by PM Modi at Cochin Shipyard Limited will do away "with the colonial past," and will be "befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage," the PMO said.

What is Naval ensign? Why the Indian Navy will get a new flag

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).

Notably, as per a Navy official, the Indian Navy would get a new insignia without the Saint George's cross which has been there on its flag ever since the British put it on it during the pre-independence era.

DRDO and Indian Navy successfully flight-test VL-SRSAM off Odisha coastDRDO and Indian Navy successfully flight-test VL-SRSAM off Odisha coast

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.

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. 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.

Tracing the journey of Naval Ensign

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.

Notably, as per the naval officers the Government of India is choosing from around 10 different designs that have been given to them by the naval headquarters. These suggestions range from depicting 11 waves on the flag representing 11 different coastal states to showcasing the different commands of the force.

Indian Navy takes delivery of India's 1st Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 'Vikrant'; Check featuresIndian Navy takes delivery of India's 1st Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 'Vikrant'; Check features

PM Modi in Karnataka and Kerala

PM Narendra Modi will visit Karnataka and Kerala on 1st and 2nd September. He will first visit Sri Adi Shankara Janma Bhoomi Kshetram, the holy birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya, on September 1.

Designed by Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a PSU under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, INS Vikrant has been built with with state-of-art automation features and it is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India.

On 2nd September, the Prime Minister will commission the first indigenous aircraft carrier as INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi.

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