Visiting Navy Fellow honours the fallen

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

Topic(s): Sea Power Centre - Australia, Last Post Ceremony, International Engagement

Captain Raymond Saad from the Sea Power Centre - Australia, left, and Indian Visiting Naval Fellow, Commander Ranendra Sawan attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Captain Raymond Saad from the Sea Power Centre - Australia, left, and Indian Visiting Naval Fellow, Commander Ranendra Sawan attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The current Indian Naval Fellow, who is a member of the Visiting Naval Fellow (VNF) Program at the Sea Power Centre - Australia (SPC-A), participated at the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The ceremony began with the Australian national anthem followed by the piper's lament, before Commander Ranendra Singh Sawan from the Indian Navy laid a wreath to honour the fallen at the Pool of Reflection.

Commander Sawan, who joined the Indian Navy in 1996, is a Surface Warfare Officer that specialises in Navigation and Aircraft Direction.

He said he was privileged and thankful to SPC-A for the opportunity to participate in the Last Post Ceremony, which tells the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour and lists more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war.

“I have served on various operational, instructional and staff assignments both afloat and ashore and am currently posted as Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, India,” Commander Sawan said.

Sea Power Centre - Australia’s Visiting Naval Fellow Program Manager, Captain Ray Saad, said that the program was a fundamental part of the Royal Australian Navy’s international defence engagement.

“SPC-A hosts the VNF Program which nurtures relationships and mutual understanding between the Royal Australian Navy and its key Indo-Pacific counterparts,” Captain Saad said.

“Moreover, the program seeks to foster people-to-people links and mutual understanding between the Royal Australian Navy and key allied navies, including Asian and Pacific Islands.

“The program is also designed to contribute to maritime security and naval strategy debates in Australia and across the Indo-Pacific.

“It’s hoped that VNFs will develop a deeper understanding of the maritime security and strategic challenges confronting their own countries, as well as an appreciation of Australia’s maritime interests and strategy. 

“The Fellows produce 10,000-word research papers on maritime strategy and defence policy issues of critical importance to their home countries and Australia.

“They meet with senior Royal Australian Navy officers, Australian policymakers and defence policy experts, and attend academic and policy conferences and official functions related to the SPC-A’s core program of maritime strategy research.

“As part of the VNF Program, Commander Sawan will undertake research on the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and make an assessment of the efficacy of the IONS in light of the work that has been done in the last twelve years.

“He will also relate IONS to the existing regional cooperative maritime security constructs, including a specific focus on Australia-India bilateral maritime cooperation.

“In addition, the VNF will seek perspectives from Australian and Indian naval officers, policymakers and academic experts.

“The research effort will eventually make specific recommendations on strengthening IONS as a robust cooperative maritime security construct in the Indian Ocean Region.

“Today was a celebration of the international defence relationships we have - it’s a proud moment for us to share this experience with them this afternoon,” he said.

The Ode of Remembrance was recited by Navy members in attendance and the ceremony ended with the sounding of the Last Post.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20200947.