Tuesday, June 15

Marcos drill on Hooghly to celebrate Swarnim Vijay Varsh

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The Indian Navy’s Marine Commandos (Marcos), based out of Visakhapatnam, carried out a drill on the River Hooghly close to Babughat on Saturday. This force continues to be an enigma even 34 years after its raising, more so, in places like Kolkata that don’t have a seafront where these elite commandos carry out drills occasionally.
No wonder, people gathered to watch this unique display. Just after 4 pm, the Navy’s Sea King helicopters (also a rare sight in Kolkata) flew across Rabindra Setu to the north and approached Babughat. They lost altitude all the while till they hovered at a point where the Marcos slithered out to waiting Geminis (inflatable rubber dinghies with outboard motors).
People watched in awe as a Gemini then sped towards the ‘beach’ next to Babughat that needed to be ‘taken over’ under the cover of dense orange smoke. “The predecessors of the Marcos were the demolition and clearance divers. While clearance divers created a path for ships by removing obstacles like mines and nets, those involved with demolition fitted explosives to the hulls of enemy ships. The ‘frogmen’ of the Royal Navy performed yeomen service during World War II. Apart from their diving skills, these frogmen had to be imparted survival training to enable them to get back home through enemy territory. Today, the Marcos are highly trained to carry out all kinds of operations,” a senior Navy official said.

Saturday’s event was organised as part of the Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations. This year, India is celebrating 50 years of the Indo-Pak war of 1971 that led to the the Independence of Bangladesh. The Victory Flame, lit from the National War Memorial, is presently touring this part of the country before moving to Bangladesh.

Source: Times of India

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