Kohima: The Indian Navy is on a mission at the 23rd edition of the Hornbill festival held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama. On Wednesday, the seventh day of the 10-day celebration, the chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, who graced the afternoon cultural session as the chief guest, shared that generating maritime consciousness through the festival was his aim.
Addressing a press conference outside the Indian Navy stall near the main arena, Kumar said, “The Hornbill Festival is popular and world-renowned. We are very proud that such a festival has gained recognition all over the world. So, what better opportunity than to come here and be a part of the festival, celebrate it and use it as an occasion to bring to the people of Nagaland and the Northeast as to what the Navy does.”
A stall has been set up by the Indian Navy as part of the Indian Navy’s Outreach program at the festival to create awareness about opportunities with the Navy and its contribution to national security.
The outreach programme, he said, is to create better consciousness about the “silent services” of the Navy in the state and the region as this part of the country witnesses less representation. At present, he said that there are only about 200 personnel in the Navy, expressing his hope to increase the number.
“We are very keen that we increase the number of personnel from Nagaland in the Navy,” he said. Visitors at the Navy stalls were able to experience the screening of movies that highlighted the Indian Navy, the VR of a ship (INS Kolkata) and an aircraft carrier (INS Vikramaditya).
The Naval chief informed that the response at the Navy stall has been very positive and over 6000 visitors have stepped foot at the Indian Navy stall. He hoped that the huge footfall would see more recruitments into the Navy.
He also explained the opportunities at the Indian Navy, the Agnipath scheme, and the types of recruitment along with eligibility criteria.
Further, the naval chief shared that around 3,000 Agniveers have been recruited for the first time out of which 341 are women.
He also said that the Indian Navy is working towards ensuring that all key technologies are developed in India in the next 25 years for which it is in dialogue with startups and MSMEs. In this regard, he informed that the Navy is working out ways to sign MoUs with startups in Nagaland that can help build technology for defence purposes.
Awareness campaigns have begun with the hornbill festival and Kumar hopes to continue this campaign beyond the festival. He said that the Indian Navy is in talks with the Chief Minister’s office and the resident commissioner in Delhi to continuously engage and take things forward.
Naval Band with a total of 17 musician sailors is also performing at the hornbill festival from December 5-7 and has gained immense popularity amongst visitors. Meanwhile, Kumar also shared that the outreach programme would continue during the next Hornbill festival.
As part of the outreach programme, motivational lectures on ‘Career in the Indian Navy’ were organised for school children in association with the State Education Department at Dimapur and Kohima.
The Indian Navy also organised a multi-speciality medical and wellness camp at Niuland district, about 35 Km from Dimapur two days before The festival.
The multi-speciality camp offered consultation by medical specialists, gynaecologists, paediatricians, ENT specialists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, community medicine and dental specialists. The medicines prescribed by the specialists were distributed free of cost to the patients. 698 beneficiaries were registered.
A motorcycle expedition, comprising 31 naval personnel including two women officers, spread over two phases covering a total distance of 3500 KM in 21 days, also kicked off.
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The Indian Navy Motor Bike team, ‘The Sea Riders’, in partnership with Royal Enfield, also embarked on an epic motorcycle expedition, as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Celebrations’, commemorating the 75th year of independence, across the seven states of Northeast India from November 25 to December 14.
The Bike Rally being conducted in two phases over a period of 24 days would cover a distance of 3500 Km. Phase I of the bike rally traversing the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland culminated at Kisana and was flagged in by Admiral R Hari Kumar, the Chief of the Naval Staff.
During Phase I, the riders covered a distance of 2000 KM. The riders visited and interacted with students at schools in Guwahati, Sohra, Aizawl, Kolasib, Loktak and Imphal with the aim to boost and motivate young students to join the Indian Navy & Armed Forces.
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