Indian Navy’s new ensign unveiled: how it looks, what it means

The Indian Navy’s new ensign was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi on Friday, on the sidelines of the commissioning of INS Vikrant, the country’s first Indigenously Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1).

In a bid to do away with the “colonial past”, the Saint George’s Cross has been removed from the Indian Navy’s new flag. Instead, it now features the national emblem with the Tricolour on the upper canton (top left corner of flag). The national emblem is encompassed by an octagonal shield and sits atop an anchor. Beneath it is the Navy’s motto ‘Sam No Varunah’.

The golden border surrounding the national emblem draws inspiration from the seal of Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and depicts steadfastness. The octagonal shape of the national emblem has been designed to represent eight directions, symbolising the multi-directional reach and multi-dimensional operational capability of the Indian Navy.

The new ensign is a successor to the pre-Independence ensign of the Indian Navy, featuring the Saint George’s Cross on a white background with the Tricolour in the canton.

The previous ensign carried the Saint George’s Cross and was a successor to the pre-Independence ensign which had the red Cross on a white background with the Union Jack of the United Kingdom on the top left corner.

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