India's seafaring traditions have roots in its ancient civilisation. The seals portraying anchors, tools and kitchen implements made of coral and mussel shell, discovered during excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, bear testimony that Indians were master seafarers as early as five millennia ago. Buddhist inscriptions in Pali and Sanskrit as well as coins and temples in some countries on the Indian Ocean littoral establish that Indians sailed the seas regularly for commercial and cultural exchanges. In the more recent times, the European Maritime powers were given a stiff battle by the Navy as it existed then under the great Admiral Kanhoji Angre. During the first and second world wars, the ships of the Navy served with distinction in different oceans, of the world. The sinking of a heavily armed Japanese ship by HMIS Bengal in the Indian Ocean in 1942 was a daring feat.

The Indian Navy as it exists today, is a manifestation of our ancient maritime heritage and aspirations. The fleets are composed of some of the most modern ships with sophisticated weaponry. It is a hard-hitting force fully capable of annihilating threats from the air, on the surface and below the surface of the seas. The complete supremacy of the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal during 1971 operations was a unique achievement.

The seas around have always been important to India for its security and prosperity. India occupies a strategic position in the Indian Ocean. The discovery of oil off India’s coast is very promising. Our exclusive economic zone abounds in seafood and may also have the much-needed minerals. The seas hold the key for improving the quality of life of Indian people in the future. The role of the Indian Navy in safeguarding the national interests and economic growth will thus become all the more important and have a direct bearing on India's strength and economic well-being of its people.

The Indian Navy faces the future with confidence. It is increasingly self reliant with warships being built by Indian shipyards. Its personnel are drawn from all corners of the country, from all religions, castes and creeds. They are steadfast in their resolve to meet all challenges, be it an enemy attack during war or rushing aid to civil power during natural calamities and accidents. They train hard and train with a spirit of dedication to make India a great maritime nation.

Navy Day is observed on 4th December every year.

The stamp Indian Naval Ship TARAGIRI. First day cover illustration shows a helicopter on board an Indian Naval Ship. Cancellation was designed by Lt Cdr P B Chowdhuri, IN and Charanjit Lal.

Date of Issue: 4.12.1981