Narendra Modi was seen encouraging and extending his good wishes to the all-women Indian Navy team which embarked on a circumnavigation of the globe today.
“Today is a special day! Six women officers of the Navy begin their journey of circumnavigating the globe on board the INSV Tarini,” his tweet read.
This is the first time in the Indian history that an all women navy team embarked on the expedition of this kind and the Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed it a “historic” day for the country.
“This is not an occasion which can happen once in five years, once in 10 years. This is a historic day for India. A historic day, which will be marked in navigation history and globally. Our women are going to stand out for doing something which most wouldn’t even have been thought of,”– she further added.
Led by Lt Commander Vartika Joshi, the all-woman crew comprises Lt Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, along with Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya, and Payal Gupta.
They would cover the expedition in five legs with stopovers at four ports (Fremantle, Australia; Lyttleton, New Zealand; Port Stanley, the Falklands; and Cape Town, South Africa) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary, before returning to Goa in April 2018.
This is also a personal landmark moment for Sitharaman as this expedition is taking place a week after she is elected as the first full-time women Defense Minister and her words reflected the same.
“This is very important for me. Personally, to do this exactly eight days after taking over the ministry, to flag a team of women sailors, I believe this is a very memorable event for me personally and for India,” she said.
When Lt. Joshi was asked about how it felt to be a part of such an expedition, she said – “We as sailors have seen that the sea does not discriminate between genders. It is always gender-neutral and we have realized that gender does not play a role in sailing. But to boost morale in the country and for more women to take part in adventures like sailing, I feel it is great that an all-woman team has been formed.”