Affiliation of INS Vikramaditya with the Bihar Regiment and No. 6 Squadron, Indian Air Force
Indian Naval Ship Vikramaditya, the largest ship in the Navy and the country’s only aircraft carrier was formally affiliated to The Bihar Regiment, a highly decorated and battle hardened Infantry Unit of the Indian Army and the No. 6 Squadron of the Indian Air Force that specializes in maritime strike operations and operates the Jaguar fighter aircraft. The glittering ceremony was held onboard INS Vikramaditya in the Karwar Naval Base which is nestled amongst the picturesque Western Ghats. Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command and Lieutenant General Amarjeet Singh, AVSM**, SM, Military Secretary and Colonel of the Bihar Regiment graced the event as the Guests of Honour. Air Vice Marshal M Fernandez, VM, VSM, Air Officer Commanding Maritime Air Operations was the senior officer from the Indian Air Force and the event also saw participation by a host of senior officers from all the three services.
The historic affiliation ceremony commenced with an inspection of the Tri-Service Guard of Honour by the senior officers of the three services. The gathering was then addressed by Rear Admiral RB Pandit, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. In his welcome address, Admiral RB Pandit spoke of the importance of the affiliation and its relevance in the present day. The Admiral highlighted that the idea behind the affiliation was to foster espirit-de-corps and friendship between the three units that would lead to greater synergy and jointmanship between the three services and would also promote interaction between personnel of the three services and their families.
The formal association between the three units commenced with the reading of the ‘Charter of Affiliation’. The aims of the affiliation and the association that the affiliated units were to maintain were listed in the ‘Charter of Affiliation’. Thereafter, the ‘Charter of Affiliation’ was signed by the Commanding Officers of the three units and by senior officers from respective services representing the unit. This was followed by an exchange of mementoes between the three units. The highlight of the event was an impressive flypast by aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm. The flypast was led by a formation of Chetak helicopters followed by formation of MiG-29K fighters of the INAS 303 squadron from the Goa based Naval Air Station, INS Hansa.
The ‘raison d’etre’ of affiliation between units of fighting forces is to act as a force multiplier by promoting better understanding of each other’s strengths and ultimately serves to maximise the combat potential of the Indian Armed Forces at the time of reckoning. It also fosters a deep understanding of each other’s service ethos, customs, traditions and sharing of new operational concepts and the same is aptly described in the affiliation motto ‘Victory through Jointness’.
The affiliation involved a host of activities over 17 and 18 Jan including a formal dinner, affiliation ceremony and organized visits for the visiting personnel. The event culminated with a grand Barakhana organised onboard INS Vikramaditya for all the participating personnel.