India unfurls enormous flag for Navy Day

Tricolour made of a hand-spun fibre championed by independence hero Mahatma Gandhi weighs 1,400kg

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India hung out its brightest colours on Saturday, unfurling a colossal national flag to mark the country's Navy Day.

Overlooking the Gateway of India monument in the heart of Mumbai, the 1,400-kilogram banner was flown by the Western Naval Command at the city's Naval Dockyard as part of a Beating Retreat ceremony.

Made of khadi – a hand-spun natural fibre championed by independence hero Mahatma Gandhi – the tricolour is an astounding 68 metres long and 45m wide.

The navy said the flying of the flag was a gesture to show the force's commitment to the country.

“As the Indian Navy rededicates itself to the service of the nation on Navy Day, it renews its pledge and commitment to protect and promote national interests and serve the people of India through this small but important gesture of exhibiting the monumental national flag,” Commander Vivek Madhwal told The National.

The spectacular unfurling of the flag was witnessed by hundreds of people. The banner will be displayed for about a week until the end of the Navy week.

Indian Navy marine commandos stand in front of the country's national flag. Photo: EPA

“There were invitees who attended the ceremony and hundreds witnessed the scenes from the long road along the coast from the Gateway of India since it's in an open space,” Commander Madhwal said.

With its roots stretching back to 1612 and the East India Company, the Indian Navy is the seventh most powerful naval force in the world. It celebrates Navy Day every year on December 4 to recognise the achievements and role of the country's maritime forces.

In October, the Indian Army flew another colossal hand-woven flag, which was 68.5m long, 45.7m wide and weighed 1,000kg. The flag was to celebrate Gandhi's birthday.

Updated: December 05, 2021, 12:20 PM