This volume covers the history of the Indian Navy from 1951-1965. The first volume, “Under Two Ensigns” was released by the President of India in December 1985 and covered the period upto 1950. However, to make this volume self-contained, its first chapter titled, “A Peep into our Maritime Past – A Resume of India’s Maritime History from Her – Hoary Past to 1950” not only briefly covers India’s rich maritime heritage but also very briefly records the significant events that occurred during that period.
The 1951-65 period was a very significant one for the growth of the Indian Navy. The Service witnessed the transition from firming up its long term plans to progressively fulfilling them and a development that gave India a small, balanced, ocean going fleet evolving in three dimensions. Blue water status was certainly not achieved in this phase; the underwater element was still nascent, aerial maritime reconnaissance was weak and amphibious forces were negligible. But the Indian Navy’s maritime vision had assumed a clear definition, the goals had been wisely set and steadfast progress was made towards them.
The commissioning of the first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (HMS Hercules) in 1961 not ony ushered in the era of naval aviation into South East Asia after World War II but also completed the process of setting up a ‘balanced naval force’ in the region for the first time.
Author: Rear Admiral Satyindra Singh, AVSM (Retd)