Port Blair. 01 January 2022. In order to preserve this important event in history, a Sankalp Smarak was dedicated to the nation by Lt Gen Ajai Singh, Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN), exactly 78 years after Netaji’s arrival on 29 Dec 2021 at 11:30 am. The Smarak is a tribute not only to the resolve of the soldiers of the Indian National Army and their innumerable sacrifices but also reminds us of the values enshrined by Netaji himself, “Nishtha, Kartavya aur Balidan” or “Commitment, Duty and Sacrifice” that continue to underscore the ethos of the Indian Armed Forces and the resolve of the Indian Soldier.
In the saga of India’s freedom struggle, 30 December 1943 holds a special place etched in time. It was on this day that a national flag was hoisted for the first time on Indian soil, at Port Blair. It is also significant is that Netaji escaped British surveillance from Kolkata on 16 Jan 1941 and stepped back on Indian soil after nearly three years, at Port Blair Aerodrome on 29 Dec 1943 at 11:30 am and unfurled a National flag the next day. Netaji’s visit to the islands as the Head of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind and Supreme Commander of Indian National Army marked a symbolic fulfilment of his promise that the Indian National Army would stand on Indian soil by the end of 1943. This historic visit also marked a declaration of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the “first liberated territory of India”.
The location of Netaji’s historic arrival on 29 Dec 1943 (accompanied by Sarvashri Anand Mohan Sahay (Secretary with Ministerial Rank), Captain Rawat – ADC and Col DS Raju (personal physician of Netaji), lies within the premises of what is now Andaman and Nicobar Command’s Air Station INS Utkrosh, in close proximity to the present-day runway. Upon his arrival as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army by a Japanese Air Force Aircraft, Netaji was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour by soldiers of Indian National Army at the Air Field.
During the dedicated ceremony held on the occasion, Soldiers of the only Quad Services Command of India led by the Commander-in-Chief himself along with other senior officers, soldiers and families paid homage, honouring the sacrifices of the soldiers of the Indian National Army. The event was conducted in a simple and solemn ceremony befitting the occasion.