Race Course and Khidderpore Docks. December 14th, 2019. The Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) has one of the most active and vibrant NCC units in these parts of the country and for the cadets, it was indeed a matter of great honour when they got the chance to represent the college on board Indian Navy warships INS Airavat and INS Kirpan. The seriousness of the visit could also be gauged from the fact that Dean of student affairs of the college, Prof Dilip Shah, Prof Minakshi Charurvedi and Divya P. Udeshi personally accompanied the team. The BESC team was welcomed on board according to naval statutes and there was a brief programme where mementoes were exchanged following the welcome and thank you speeches. Cadet Aditya Raj of the BESC NCC Unit was awarded a special prize for his exemplary dedication and achievements as a cadet. He was also lauded by the Commanding Officer of INS Kirpan who handed over the award and citations. BESC students were told that the INS Airavat was built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata. She began sea trials in July 2008 after completing basin trials in May. She was commissioned at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam on 19 May 2009, by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta. She is named for the mount of god Indra, the elephant Airavata, as mentioned in the Rigveda. Fully loaded, she can operate independently at high seas for up to 45 days. While primarily designed for amphibious assault operations, Airavat’s missions also include humanitarian assistance & disaster relief (HADR) during natural disasters, including tsunamis, cyclones and earthquakes. She has a fully functioning hospital on board, the capacity to carry 500 soldiers, and can provide stern refuelling for other naval vessels. The ship INS Kirpan is the third ship of the Khukri class of missile corvettes and was also constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). The commanding officer of the ship is Captain Charit Kapil and the students were informed that it is a medium sized warship whose arsenal comprises surface to surface missiles, a medium range gun, anti-aircraft shoulder-launched missiles and close in weapon systems. The ship can carry one Chetak helicopter onboard and is capable of travelling at a speed of 25 knots. BESC cadets were also informed that the missiles can engage targets as far as 85 kms while its two 30mm AK630 anti-aircraft gun can fire 5000 rounds per minute at 15 kms range. The ship is equipped with surface and air surveillance radars along with fire control radar for guns. The ship is expected to spearhead the Indian Navy’s offensive towards fulfilling any military objective while in peacetime, the ship’s role includes protection of India’s maritime resources, counterterrorism and prevention of piracy. The visit was an eyeopener for most of the land lubbers as Indian Navy’s maritime capabilities were explained to the cadets. Life in the high seas, the threats faced by the long coastline, the challenges faced by a modern navy and the strictly non-military services – humanitarian as well as economic like anti-piracy – provided by the navy round the clock were some of the highlights that were presented before the students during the trip. Officers showing the students around the ship also explained in detail the challenges and threats faced by the Indian Navy from terrorists and explained about the level of vigilance that has to be maintained apart from spelling out the response that the Navy is capable of meting out. The trip to the warships was followed by a visit to the Military Tattoo at the Race Course where the BESC students were enthralled by the daredevilry of the men in uniform along with the fantastic capabilities of the animals who are as much a part of the forces as the men are. The apogee of physical fitness, the coordinated movements that were breath-taking and above all the valour and dedication with which the uniformed men and women serve the Nation was a lesson that got ingrained over and over again in the young and impressionable minds, many of whom went back with the vow to make the transition from the audience to the ring. (This report has been filed by Aditya Raj along with camera person Snehal Mullick of the Expressions collective of the BESC. The event was coordinated by Aditya Raj).