Indian Navy changes ensign at INS Vikrant, Twitterati reacts

- September 2, 2022
| By : Patriot Bureau |

While several praised the Indian Navy for getting rid of the ‘colonial past’ by changing the ensign for the fifth time now, some netizens say it doesn’t meet the aesthetic standards

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Indian Navy’s new naval ensign (Nishaan) during the commissioning of INS Vikrant in Kochi, which is India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier. 

This is the fifth time that changes have been made to the naval ensign, post Independence.  

The Indian Navy has ‘shed the colonial past’ by replacing the St George’s Red Cross from the flag with the blue octagonal shape superimposed on a shield with Navy’s motto ‘Sam No Varunah’ in Devanagari. The ensign, as the government said, was inspired from the seal of the Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

New naval ensign of Indian Navy


What is naval ensign?

A naval ensign is a maritime flag used by naval ships of various countries to denote their nationality. It can be the same or different from a country’s civil ensign or state ensign. It is also known as a war ensign.

What is the new Navy ensign?

The new ensign has the national flag on upper canton. A blue octagonal shape with the national emblem sits atop an anchor, superimposed on a shield with the Navy’s motto. “The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet”, the Navy said in a video showcasing the new ensign.

The blue octagonal shape represents the eight directions symbolising the Indian Navy’s multidirectional reach and multidimensional operational capability. The anchor symbol represents “steadfastness”, the Navy said.

History of the Indian naval ensign

On 26 January 1950, when India became a republic, the Navy crest and flags were duly ‘Indianised’. Although the ensign retained a touch of the British legacy – the Red St George’s Cross, the Union flag was replaced by the tricolour. Ironically, while other ex-colonial Navies discarded the Red St George’s Cross in their new ensigns and flags, the Indian Navy retained it till 2001.

With effect from 15 August 2001, the design of the ensign was changed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and the Cross made its way out of the Indian Navy crest.

However, in April 2004 – a month before the UPA government was sworn in – the original ensign was adopted again as there were complaints within the force that the blue of the naval crest was indistinguishable from the sky and the ocean. The ensign was changed back to St George’s Cross with the addition of the Indian emblem in its intersection. 

In 2014, the ensign as well as the naval crest were updated to include the national motto “Satyameva Jayate” in the Devanagari script.

Twitter Reacts