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Indian Navy Flags

Last modified: 2023-11-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: india | military | navy | war ensign | rank flags |
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2022 Naval Ensign proposal

[Ensign] image by Zachary Harden, 4 October 2022

2014 Naval Ensign

[War Ensign] image by Željko Heimer and Jonathan Dixon, 6 August 2014

The Indian Naval Ensign will change on 15 August 2014 (Independence Day), to include the inscription सत्यमेव जयते (सत्यमेव जयते, Satyameve Jayate, meaning 'Truth Alone Prevails') in Devangari script as part of the State Emblem, to follow the legal definition of the emblem.

In 2004 India adopted a new Naval Ensign, which was the 1950-2001 British-inspired ensign with the Lion Capital of Ashoka as the State Emblem added to the centre of the red cross. [Note that the flag is defined in terms of intersecting vertical and horizontal stripes, with no reference to a cross.]

Use of the emblem is now governed by the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005, in which the description of the emblem states 'The motto "Satyameva Jayate" – Truth alone triumphs – written in Devanagari script below the profile of the Lion Capital is part of the State Emblem of India.' However, the lion capital emblem has been fairly widely used without the inscription.

This issue was covered in a court case brought by Kamal Dey concerning unauthorised and other improper use of the emblem, during which it was pointed out that furniture and regalia used in the Kolkata High Court itself bore the incomplete emblem. A court order dated 14 July 2011 directed that 'improper use without the word “Satyameva Jayate”' be stopped.

Earlier in 2014, the Home Ministry directed that government departments correct this misuse of the emblem, and in July President Pranab Mukherjee approved the inclusion of the inscription on the Naval Ensign and the Navy Crest (which appeared on the 2001-2004 naval ensign).


State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005:

Kanchan Chakraborty 21 Nov 2009. At Kolkata High Court, kissa kursi ka with a twist /Indian Express/:

Order of the Hon’ble Division Bench consist of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh & Justice Soumen Sen, High Court, Calcutta dated 14.07.2011., found at Emblem.doc

Gautam Datt 5 Aug 2014. Indian Navy to finally include Satyameva Jayata below national emblem on its flag and crest. India Today:
Jonathan Dixon, 6 August 2014

2004 Series Naval Ensign

[War Ensign] 1:2 by Željko Heimer

The 1950 pattern Naval Ensign has been restored, with the small addition of a national emblem in the centre of the cross, and that it has now been specified in proportion of 1:2. It is also interesting that the 1950 rank flags have been restored intact, and that the official specs are identical (with the addition of a Chakra of course) to those of their UK equivalents.
Christopher Southworth, 25 April 2004

The date of adoption is not firmly known, since the document on-line announcing them is undated. However, it is clear that the Indian Navy used FOTW images to make some of the images in the document, and these images were not posted to the web by us until late January 2004 (Martin Grieve posted them to FOTW-mailing list in December 2003), and allowing some time for the Indian naval officers to track them down on FOTW and to include them in its documents, I would say that the decision signed by the President could not be more then a month or two old!
Željko Heimer, 29 April 2004

While in Delhi, I had the opportunity to attend the Beating Retreat ceremony on 29 January (2006) that concludes the celebrations surrounding Republic Day. The Chief of Naval Staff's car flew the naval ensign.
Joe McMillan, 2 February 2006

Construction Sheet

[War Ensign] 1:2 by Željko Heimer

The width of the red stripes composing the cross is 2/15 of the flag hoist size. The state emblem (lions) is set in the middle of the flag with size so: width 2/16 of the hoist and height 2/11 of the hoist. The national flag in the canton is as per the "'Flag Code of India' (reproduced in Chapter I of Navy Order (Spl) 03/2003)" (that we unfortunately do not have). This means that the details of the Chakra are not known to us (not only for this particular flag!). However, I believe that we could not be much mistaken if we say that the Chakra is inscribed in a circle with diameter "around 2/15" of the hoist. (Actually that may be a bit too large in comparison with the national flag that we currently show at the FOTW, where the Chakra is 5/6 of the white stripe - this would make it exactly 476.6 in the units on the image, but this is still an approximation.) The only way to retain the whole numbers in the diagram is making the hoist of 3960 units, and the figures on the sheet are still a bit clumsy.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

2004 Series Rank Flags

The navy blue Indian Naval Crest is also found in the flags of flag officer's. These are generally speaking 2:3 in the ratio and made up of a white field bordered in navy blue, with the Indian Naval Crest set towards the hoist and a varying number of stars according to rank in the free end:

Admiral of the Fleet

[Admiral of the Fleet] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

Admiral of the Fleet flag is the same as the national flag, flown from the main mast.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004


[Admiral] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

[Admiral] 2:3 by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

White flag with the red horizontal and vertical bars and the Chakra in the middle. Ratio 2:3. The red stripes width are 1/6 of the hoist, the Chakra diameter is 6/15 of the hoist. (Note the significant difference from the prescribed size of Chakra and the one shown in the regulations, that is about the half of the prescribed size - unless I have made an error in computation...).
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

Vice Admiral

[Vice Admiral] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

The Admiral's flag with a red ball added in the canton. For construction it is equal with the rear admiral, so see below.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

Rear Admiral

[Rear Admiral] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

[Rear Admiral] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

As the flag of Admiral with a red ball each in the upper hoist quarter and the lower hoist quarter. The construction is equal to the admiral's flag, the balls have diameters equal to the half the white quarter height.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004


[Commodore] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

[Commodore] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

White triangular swallow-tailed pennant with a red cross defaced with Chakra and with a red ball in the canton. The ratio is 1:2. The width at fly is 3/4 of the hoist width, and the indentation is 2/3 of the host. The vertical red stripe is at the middle between the hoist and the peak of the indentation. The red ball is offset slightly downwards.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

Senior Officer

[Senior Officer] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

[Senior Officer] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

White triangular pennant with the red stripes defaced with the Chakra. Ratio 1:2. Width of the red stripes 1/6 of the hoist. Chakra diameter 6/15 of the hoist. The regulations clearly indicate that the stripes are centered as in the rectangular flag (i.e., as if the Admiral's flag was cut into a triangle), though it is far from the most pleasing design and I have quite a doubt that the real flags are made according to this design.
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

Masthead Pennant

[Senior Officer] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

[Senior Officer] by Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004

White triangular pennant with at hoist the red cross defaced with the Chakra. The length of the horizontal red stripe is 12 times the width at hoist. The width of the stripes is 1/6 of the hoist and the Chakra diameter is 6/15 of the hoist. The length of the flag differs for various prescribed flag sizes, from 1:36 for the smallest to 1:86.4 for the largest. (The prescribed sizes are 1"x1yd, 1.25"x2yd, 1.5"x3yd, 2#x4yd and 2.5-3"x6yd.)
Željko Heimer, 23 May 2004