In the 38th edition of Mann ki Baat radio programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched upon a plethora of issues and topics ranging from the drafting of the Indian Constitution to terrorism becoming a global threat. In his radio address, Modi also spoke at length on the Indian Navy Day (which is observed on December 4). Hailing the Indian Navy strength, Modi remembered the history of Indian naval power. He cited the example of the naval strength of the Chola Dynasty (one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the history of southern India), which played a vital role in the expansion of the empire. He said that the ancient India sea power reached its zenith during the Chola Dynasty. While highlighting the naval power of the Chola empire, he pointed out an interesting fact about the Chola Navy. He said that the Chola dynasty was the first in the world to realise the potential of women power. He said, “Very few people might be aware that most navies of the world allowed women on warships pretty later. But in Chola Navy, large number of women played leading roles and that too about eight to nine hundred years ago,” thereby bringing the contribution of women to the Chola naval strength to the fore.
It should not be forgotten that the navy of the Chola Dynasty played a crucial role in their conquest of the Ceylon islands and naval raids on Srivijaya. The navy grew both in size and status during the medieval Cholas reign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the women warriors of the Chola Navy and said that they fought bravely, in his radio address to the nation. He also lauded the Maratha Naval strength saying, “When we talk of navy, who can ignore Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the capabilities and might of his navy. Konkan coast, where the sea has a significant role, was under Shivaji Maharaj’s realm. The security of forts was the responsibility of the Maratha Navy.” He also added, “There was a combination of large ships and small boats in Maratha Navy. His naval forces were very efficient and skilled in attacking the enemy and in defending their attacks. And how can we not remember Kanhoji Aangre! He took Maratha Navy to newer heights.”
In his address, he also congratulated the Indian Navy saying that the Indian Navy not just secures and protects our maritime boundaries but also helps our neighbouring countries during difficult times like cyclones or floods. He said, “After Independence, our Indian Navy showed its valour on various occasions; be it the liberation struggle of Goa or the Indo-Pak war. When we talk of the Navy, we see only war but the Indian Navy has come forward in humanitarian ventures as well.”