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Amid discussion on ops, top Navy commanders to discuss allowing Indian dresses in wardrooms, messes

At a time when the top naval brass is discussing operational matters about expanding the role and responsibilities of the maritime forces, the ongoing naval commanders’ conference is also discussing allowing Indian traditional dresses in their wardrooms and officers’ mess along with the western dresses worn by their personnel and families. The three-day commanders’ conference started on Monday in the presence of Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, CDS Gen Anil Chauhan and other top officials.

“Along with major operational issues, the top commanders are also likely to discuss the issue of allowing Indian traditional dress along with the western dresses,” sources in the Navy said. “The discussions are being held as part of the Indian Navy’s initiatives to remove archaic and colonial practices and the traditional Indian dress is under consideration for inclusion into the list of dresses worn in the wardrooms, officers’ messes and institutes of the force,” they said.

The proposed Indian dress was allowed during festival gatherings in the officers’ mess and institutes. However, the same is under active consideration for being permitted to be worn in addition to all officers’ uniforms, Western attire such as open collars, lounge suits etc, if desired by the officer. The discussions are taking place at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his five pledges in his Independence Day speech last year which include doing away with any trace of colonial past in practice and tradition.

The Indian defence forces, which have kept many of the British traditions alive, don’t allow the wearing of Indian traditional dresses for men. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a naval ensign at the commissioning ceremony of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, with the new flag drawing inspiration from the seal of Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj and the Cross of St George being dropped.

The Indian Navy in recent times has been expanding itself in a big way as for the first time ever, its submarines are taking part in exercises in areas as far as Australia. The Indian Navy warships are mission deployed in major areas of Indian responsibility. The Indian Navy empowered by two aircraft carriers is also looking at having one more of it with plans of ordering the mother INS Vikrant class platform. 


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