Indian Navy’s New Ensign
PM Narendra Modi unveiled a new Indian Navy ensign or the ‘Nishaan’ at the Commissioning event of INS Vikrant on the 2nd of September at Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi. INS Vikrant is the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier in India.
“Till today Indian Naval flags carried a sign of slavery which has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” PM Narendra Modi said while unveiling the new naval ensign. Navy said in an official statement while talking about the new ensign “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. Shivaji Maharaj’s fleet was comprised of “60 fighting ships and approximately 5,000 men and the rising Maratha naval power during Shivaji Maharaj’s period “was the first to secure the coastline against external aggression.”
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the new Naval ensign (Nishaan), which befits Indian maritime heritage, is an attempt to do away with India’s colonial history. As the naval ensign had Saint George’s Cross with the Tricolour at the canton (top left corner of the flag). This Cross symbolised British Missionary Warrior St George’s victories. It was given by Britishers only and the other Commonwealth nations like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Pakistan, South Africa, and Bangladesh have already changed their ensign.
A naval ensign is a flag hoisted atop all the institutions of the navy including naval warships, ground stations, etc. Every country has their own unique naval ensigns which they generally showcase on their war vessels.
The changes in the new Indian Naval ensign include the Tricolour at the top left, which has been retained with no change but an Indian Navy crest is placed in an octagon on the right side in the place of the Saint George’s Cross. This octagonal Indian Navy crest represents rajmudra of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
As per the official statement of the Indian Navy, the blue octagonal shape represents eight directions which represents the multi-directional reach of Indian Navy and its multi-dimensional operational capabilities, while the anchor represents “steadfastness.”