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Navy set to withdraw its ceremonial uniform ‘No.2’, replace it with half-sleeved shirt & trousers

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to do away with its white ceremonial uniform, also referred to as ‘No.2’, which will now be worn only on specific orders, ThePrint has learnt.

While details are yet to be ironed out, a source in the defence and security establishment said, “Policy letters on the change in uniform regulations have already been issued. The letter mentions that No.2 will be retained but will be worn when specifically ordered. They will not be worn during every ceremony, as is done today.”  

The ‘No. 2’ — worn during formal parades, the commissioning of a ship, wreath-laying, beating retreat, funerals as well as court martials — are white tunics and trousers with epaulets and medals that signify ranks. The uniform is paired with white shoes for officers and senior sailors, while junior officers wear black boots or shoes.

The ‘No.2’ will be replaced with a half-sleeved shirt and white trousers, also known as ‘8A’, which naval personnel already wear while carrying out their day-to-day duties. The only change during ceremonies will be that these uniforms will be worn with medals, just as the previous uniforms.

Another source in the establishment said that the move is aimed at gaining parity with the other two services during tri-services events. “Among the three services, the No.2 uniform worn by the Navy during ceremonies is the only uniform that has full-length sleeves and a bandhgala. The material too is thicker than other uniforms worn by the Navy and other two services in summers.” 

For winters, however, the Navy has different uniforms that are black in colour.

The No.2 uniform requires officers of the rank of commander and above to carry a sword to ceremonies. However, with the change in uniform, the sword too will be done away with for certain ceremonies, it is learnt. 

On certain occasions and mandates, dress No.2 is also worn with ribbons instead of medals. This combination of dress is referred to as ‘No.4’. Since medals cannot be worn on a day-to-day basis except during ceremonies, the ribbon in all three services, signifies the places served, duration of service and awards won. It is likely that even the ‘No.4’ uniform will come to be withdrawn.

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‘Gender-agnostic force’

The Navy currently has nearly 10 types of uniforms. However, with varied accompaniments worn on the same uniform, the total number of naval attires goes up to 16.

Sources told ThePrint that the withdrawal of the ‘No.2’ uniform is part of a larger change in naval uniforms. “While certain uniforms are getting introduced, there are others that may undergo certain minor changes. As the Navy has moved to being a gender-agnostic force, the uniforms are also being altered to make women more comfortable on ships and elsewhere while discharging their duties,” one of the sources quoted earlier said.

For instance, the Indian Navy is also looking at introducing fire-retardant, ergonomic overalls for serving on board ships, which will be worn by women PBORs (personnel below officer rank) recruited through the Agniveer scheme. The source quoted above told ThePrint that the move was to bring about an ease of movement on board ships.

Digital camouflages introduced by the Navy in December 2020 have come in as a working dress to be worn by personnel in field areas.

During the Naval Commanders’ Conference held in September this year, it was discussed that the Navy might allow officers and sailors to wear specific traditional Indian attire in messes, wardrooms and institutes, the source further said. This dress, which is still under consideration, is known as the national civil dress. In addition, the opening day of the naval commanders’ conference saw the navy showcase jackets, high absorption t-shirts, high ankle shoes, and camouflage caps.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Not just sailors, Navy’s new fire suit could help soldiers with stealth & save pilots from burns

Source: The Print

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