Naval Ensign


    In Context

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the new naval ensign (flag) for the Indian Navy in Kochi .
    • The new naval ensign will replace the present ensign that carries the Saint George’s Cross with the Tricolour in the canton (top left corner of flag). 

    About Naval Ensign

    • Origin: The Indian Navy draws its origin to the colonial period. On October 2, 1934, the naval service was renamed Royal Indian Navy (RIN). With India becoming a Republic on January 26, 1950, the prefix ‘Royal’ was dropped, and it was rechristened as the Indian Navy.
    • Evolution of flag:  After January 26, 1950, the flags were changed to carry Indianised patterns. In the Indian Navy’s ensign, the Union Jack was replaced with the tricolour in the canton, but the St George’s Cross was retained.
      • In 2001, India replaced the George’s Cross with the naval crest in the middle of the Navy’s ensign, retaining the tricolour on the top left corner.
      • 2004: However, the changes made to the ensign were reverted in 2004 after complaints said that the new flag was indistinguishable as the blue of the Navy crest merged with the skies and the sea.
        •  While the George’s Cross was brought back, India introduced the national emblem in the middle of the flag.
      • In 2014, the Navy’s ensign saw a new addition, as the words ‘Satyamev Jayate’ in Devanagari script were included below the Ashoka emblem.

    • The Indian naval ensign was adopted after January 26, 1950. 

    • The Indian naval ensign was adopted in 2001.

    • The Indian naval ensign was adopted in 2004. 


    • The Indian Navy’s ensign at present. 

    What is Saint George’s Cross?

    • The Saint George’s Red Cross in the Indian Navy’s ensign is named after the Christian warrior Saint George, who is believed to have been a crusader during the third crusade. The Cross of Saint George is a red cross on a white background.
    • The first ensign of the Indian Navy carried the UK flag on a blue background and carried the symbol of the UK’s Imperial Legislative Council.

    Countries which discarded George’s Cross as naval ensign

    • Most Commonwealth countries retained the Red George’s Cross at time of their independence, but several have done away with it on their respective naval ensigns over the years. Prominent among them are Australia, New Zealand and Canada. 
    • The South African naval ensign has a green cross instead of the Red George’s Cross. 
    • Pakistan navy has its naval crest on the ensign while Bangladesh navy has a white flag with Bangladesh national flag in top left corner.

    Source: IE