Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the new naval ensign (flag) for the Indian Navy in Kochi.
significance of having a new naval ensign what the old ensign which bears the Saint George’s Cross signifies.
Replacing the ensign with colonial past
The new naval ensign which the PM will unveil in Kochi will replace the present ensign that carries the Saint George’s Cross with the Tricolour in the canton . This ensign is essentially a successor to the pre-Independence ensign of the Indian Navy which had the red George’s Cross on a white background with the Union Jack of the United Kingdom on the top left corner. The design of the new ensign has not yet been made public.
After Independence, on August 15, 1947, the Indian defence forces continued with the British colonial flags and badges and it was only on Jan 26, 1950 that a changeover to Indianised pattern was made. The Navy crest and flag were changed but the only difference made to the flag was that the Union Jack was replaced with the Tricolour, and the George’s Cross was retained.
Is this the first time the naval ensign is being changed?
A change in the naval ensign was made in 2001 when the George’s Cross was replaced with the naval crest in the middle of the white flag while the Tricolour retained its place on the top left corner. There had been a long pending demand for a change in the naval ensign
However, in 2004, the ensign was again changed back to the Red George’s Cross as there were complaints that the new flag was indistinguishable because the blue of the Navy crest merged with the skies and the sea. A change was made in the flag and the red George’s Cross now had the state emblem derived from the Lion capital of Ashoka in the middle
In 2014, yet another change was made when the words ‘Satyamev Jayate’ were included on the flag below the Ashoka emblem in Devanagri script.
What is the Saint George’s Cross?
The red cross on white background is known as the Saint George’s Cross and is named after a Christian Warrior Saint who is believed to have been a crusader during the third crusade. This cross also serves as the flag of England which is a constituent of the United Kingdom. The flag was adopted by England and the city of London in 1190 to identify English ships entering the Mediterranean. The Royal Navy adopted the George’s Cross to fly on their ships in various shapes and forms and the present pattern of the British White Ensign (as it is known) was adopted around 1707.
Most Commonwealth countries retained the Red George’s Cross at time of their independence, but several have done away with it on their respective naval ensigns over the years. Prominent among them are Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The Royal Canadian Navy adopted a new design in 2013 which has the Canadian flag in top left corner and the Canadian naval crest on a white background. The Australian navy changed its ensign in 1967 and it now has the Union Jack and six blue stars positioned, as in the Australian national flag, on a white background. The New Zealand navy also did away with the George’s Cross in 1968 and replaced it with a white flag bearing Union Jack in top left corner and four red stars.