The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne left for India to take part in the International Fleet Review (IFR) hosted by the Indian Navy from 4th to 8th February 2016. Over 24 foreign naval chiefs are expected to attend the mega event conducted at Visakhapatnam on the East coast of India. The Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is hosting the International Fleet Review conducted in the Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh. Fifty countries, including Sri Lanka, are participating in the mega event.
A 275-member Sri Lankan delegation, led by Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne, and Sri Lanka Navy's Flag Ship SLNS Sayura are taking part in the IFR organized by the Indian Navy for the second time with the participation of ninety ships, including 24 warships. The first IFR was held on India's west coast in Mumbai in 2001. Over 75 helicopters of various types, including hawk jet fighters, will also exhibit their talent in the Bay of Bengal during the Indian Navy's 2nd IFR.
The President of India Hon. Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, will embark on the Presidential yacht INS Sumitra after inspecting the Guard of Honour presented by 150 naval personnel on IFR. The VIPs will review the fleet of participating Indian and foreign ships, which will be anchored in six columns. Naval personnel standing on anchored ships on both sides of INS Sumitra will salute the Indian President in the traditional manner.
The main idea of conducting the IFR is to unite the navies through ocean and the exercise is expected to strengthen the friendship among the friendly countries. The Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi will address the participants and release a book on the maritime heritage of India. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Sri Chandrababu Naidu will inaugurate a maritime exhibition, which will showcase various entrepreneurs in the maritime domain. The Defence Minister of India Hon. Manohar Parikkar will declare open a two-day international maritime conference on the theme ‘Partnering together for a secure maritime future’. The activities of the IFR will conclude on the evening of February 8th with a joint international band concert, where the Sri Lanka Navy Band along with the Cultural Troupe make a performance.
During his participation in the IFR, the Commander of the Navy is scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral RK Dhowan. He will also attend the press conference presided by the Indian CNS. The Navy Commander will also attend the reception hosted by the Indian CNS which will be graced by the Prime Minister of India as the Chief Guest.