The mission named ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ with six women officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was flagged off the Goa port by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
First time in the country, a team of six-women Indian Navy officers on Sunday embarked on an adventurous journey in their small sail boat to cover a distance of more than 21,600 nautical miles in eight months around the globe.
INS Tarini sailed off the Goa port and would return in March next year. The mission has been undertaken to showcase the empowerment of women in the Navy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a staunch advocate of promoting women power in the forces, also offered his wishes to the crew.
The mission named ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ with six women officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was flagged off by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in presence of her predecessor and Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lamba.
“This is not an occasion which can happen once in five years, once in 10 years. This is a historic day for India. A historic day, which will be marked in navigation history and globally,” Sitharaman said, after flagging off ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, the official name of the circumnavigation effort.
“Our women are going to stand out for doing something which mostly wouldn’t even have been thought of,” Sitharaman said at the event.
Talking to Aaj Tak, the crew’s head Vartika Joshi said the Prime Minister asked them to showcase the strengths of the country. During their voyage they will make four stops in different countries.
The first stop would be in Free-Mantle in Australia, New Zealand and then to Falklands before reaching their last stop in Cape Town in South Africa.
During the entire stretch of their journey, INSV Tarini would be monitored by a Naval command center apart from the Indian embassies in the countries from where these lady officers would be passing. The rescue zones of the different countries have also been apprised of the mission and they would also keep an eye on them.
Senior Navy officers said that the women officers would not be passing through the piracy infested zones and are quite prepared for meeting any eventuality in the sea.
The women in boat have established a close bonding with each other which would come in very handy during the long stay in the ship for next eight months.
Though women are not allowed onboard warships and submarines, but it is believed that such voyages would help them in future.
Besides Lieutenant Commander Joshi, the other members of the Navika Sagar Parikrama team are Lt Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lt P Swathi, Lt Vijaya Devi, Lt Payal Gupta and Lt B Aishwarya. Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Lanba said this was the first time an Indian women crew was attempting circumnavigation of the globe. The journey will see officers sail through three oceans – Indian, Pacific and Atlantic.
RAPID FIRE WITH NIRMALA SITHARAMAN
Q. What are your remarks on this mission undertaken by women officers?
A. All the members of this mission are women. This is one of the memorable moments for me. It would be marked in golden letters.
Q. What do you have to say about their training and the boat in which they are travelling?
A. These officers have been imparted very good professional training. I am sure that their mission would be successful.
Q. Do you think we are moving towards inducting women in combat roles?
A. In all the three services, women are moving ahead fast. Wherever our help is required, we would provide support.