By Dennard H D’Souza ,Research Associate, Maritime History Society
The Vande Bharat is one mammoth mission to evacuate the diaspora Indians stranded all throughout the globe. It has been touted as one of the biggest achievements of the Modi government in almost warlike peace times. But in all this conversation we should not lose sight of the contribution of the Indian navy. The operation Samudra Setu is the Navy’s major deployment in the current times. The last we heard of such an evacuation of Indian and foreign nationals was from Yemen, operation Raahat in 2015. This was done on behest of the Ministry of external affairs. But what makes Samudra Setu different is the purpose of its mission. The navy out here has to combat the unseen enemy which is lurking at the corner. This enemy is the devious corona virus which make every person a potential carrier. The navy has to perform a fine balancing act by ferrying passengers and keeping them apart.
The navy was also involved in providing on ground support for corona affected patients which was applauded by the nation at large. These quarantine centres were set up in the heart of the city at Ghatkopar. Another instance where the navy came up in support of the nation was during the Kerala floods. It undertook flood relief action when hardly any other organisation was equipped to handle such a catastrophic crisis.
In the past at the battle front the navy was ever ready to take on the enemy. The Bangladesh liberation movement 1971 was possible only because of the navy efforts. Operation trident rendered Pakistan handicapped. It kept the naval docks burning for several days. The Pakistanis suffered a major blow owing to the Indian navy’s actions on that fateful day. Bangladesh shall be ever grateful to the Indian navy for its proactive role in the liberation movement.
The Indian navy is one wing of India’s security apparatus. Today seas are becoming the major battle ground. The Chinese are tighten their noose around the Indian ocean region, from where much of the global trade traffic passes through. In such times the navy activities become an important service that will protect the nations interest and economic wellbeing.
The navy is a professional force that does its work with restraint and great dignity. It anchors India in the safe waters where it can prosper. The nation owes a great deal to the Indian navy for its safety.
Image 1. https://orissadiary.com/operation-samudra-setu-ins-magar-arrives-at-male-to-evacuate-indian-citizens/