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Pride in nation’s roots & awareness of past have become force behind India’s rise, says Navy chief 

New Delhi: Asking young Indians to be more “conscious, curious, and confident of our cultural and civilisational past”, Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar has said that pride in the country’s roots, belief in its values and ethos and holistic awareness of the past have become the force behind India’s rise.

He was speaking Tuesday in Goa at the keel-laying ceremony of an ancient stitched ship in a project that aims “to preserve the traditional craft of ship-building and showcase the rich maritime heritage of India to the world”.

The keel for the ship was laid by Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs.

A “stitched ship” is a type of wooden boat which is carved with the planks stitched together with cords/ropes, a technique popular in ancient India for constructing ocean-going vessels prior to the advent of metallic fasteners.

The design and construction of the stitched ship is being overseen by the Indian Navy, whereas the project in its entirety is being funded by the ministry of culture, the defence ministry said in a release.

The project was approved by the National Implementation Committee, chaired by home minister Amit Shah, as a commemoration project on 14 December last year.

The construction and delivery of the stitched ship is expected to be concluded in 22 months.

For the construction of the ship, wooden planks will be shaped using the traditional steaming method to conform to the shape of the hull. Each plank will be stitched to another using cords and ropes, sealed with a combination of coconut fibre, resin and fish oil.

Upon completion of construction, the vessel will go on a voyage to South East Asia/Persian Gulf, along one of the traditional routes using ancient navigation techniques by the Indian Navy. The journey is slated for 2025, the ministry said.

At the ceremony, Admiral Kumar said the occasion should serve as an opportunity for all Indians to relive and celebrate the nation’s glorious maritime past.

He added that India’s youth should be “galvanised towards our national cause” and young Indians should be more “conscious, curious, and confident of our cultural and civilisational past”.

He further said that it was one’s duty to connect the present with the past, to usher in a vibrant and aspirational tomorrow, and that reconstruction of the stitched ship took India’s “past forward”.

Reiterating the Navy’s efforts to honour the past, he said that the force had initiated “a number of measures to shed colonial vestiges and reconnect with our civilisational values”. He cited the new naval ensign Nishaan, unveiled in August 2022, as the “prime example”.  

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also Read: Submarine deal, defence manufacturing hub: Rajnath pitches ‘Make-in-India’ to German counterpart

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