PM Modi to unveil new naval ensign

Tags: National Defence

The Prime Minister will unveil the new naval ensign (flag) for the Indian Navy in Kochi on the sidelines of the commissioning of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited on 2 September.


  • The new Navy flag will be far from the colonial past and full of Indian heritage.
  • The new naval ensign will replace the present ensign that carries the Saint George Cross with the Tricolour in the canton (top left corner of flag).

  • This flag will essentially replace the pre-independence flag of the Indian Navy, which had a red George Cross on a white background with the Union Jack of the United Kingdom at the top left corner.

  • The design of the new flag has not been made public yet.

What is a Naval Ensign?

  • It is a maritime flag used by naval ships of different countries to denote their nationality.

  • It may be similar to the national flag of the country or it may be different from it.

  • In the case of India, the naval flag used by the Indian Navy is different from the national flag.

Indian Navy has changed its flag several times :

  • This was changed during the pre-colonial era and after independence.

  • The Indian Navy got its first flag during the colonial period under British rule.

  • In 1928, the white flag of the Royal Navy was used by the Royal Indian Navy (1934 to 1950) along with the St. George's Cross and the Union Jack flag.

  • After independence, on 26 January 1950, the Royal Indian Navy was renamed the Indian Navy, with the crest and flag "Indianised".

  • Accordingly, the Union Jack on the earlier flag was replaced by the tricolor or national flag of India in the canton (upper left corner of the flag).

  • In 2001, the flag of the Indian Navy was changed once again to distinguish it from the pre-colonial era.

  • A blue spire of the Indian Navy was installed on a white background.

  • The government decided to re-adopt St. George's Cross.

  • In 2014, another change was made to the flag with the inclusion of the Indian national motto: Satyameva Jayate below the national emblem in Devanagari script.

What is the Saint George’s Cross ?

  • The red cross on white background is known as the Saint George’s Cross.

  • It is named after a Christian Warrior Saint who is believed to have been a crusader during the third crusade.

  • This cross also serves as the flag of England which is a constituent of the United Kingdom.

  • The flag was adopted by England and the City of London in 1190 to identify English ships entering the Mediterranean Sea.

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