The global circumnavigation by an all-women Indian Navy crew is a historic occasion for India, the country’s first full-fledged woman Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday.
“This is not an occasion which can happen once in five years, once in ten years. This is a historic day for India. A historic day, which will be marked in navigation history and globally,” Sitharaman said, after flagging off the ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, at the INS Mandovi naval training base near Panaji.
“Our women are going to stand out for doing something which mostly wouldn’t even have been thought of,” the Minister said.
“It is a great pleasure and it is an opportunity which no one can easily get. To be among, these great, inspired and well motivated women sailors, who are going to take this challenge,” she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday also extended his good wishes to the all-women Indian Navy team.
“Today is a special day! Six women officers of the Navy begin their journey of circumnavigating the globe on board the INSV Tarini,” Modi tweeted.
“The entire nation comes together in wishing the all-women team of Navika Sagar Parikrama the very best in their remarkable endeavour.”
‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ would be covered in five legs with stop-overs at four ports (same ports as Captain Dilip Donde called on) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary, before returning to Goa in April next year.
The first Indian solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Captain Dilip Donde of the Indian Navy.
The all-women crew has sailed approximately 20,000 Nm onboard INSV Mhadei and Tarini as part of training, which includes two expeditions to Mauritius (in 2016 and 2017) and a voyage from Goa to Cape Town in December 16.
INSV Tarini, a 55 foot sailing vessel has been built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa and was was inducted into the Indian Navy earlier this year.
“The project is considered essential towards promoting ocean sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’,” a Defence Ministry statement said.