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Indian Navy Flags

Last modified: 2013-07-19 by ian macdonald
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1950-2001 war ensign

[Old War Ensign of India]

by Željko Heimer

War ensign of India: St. George's cross with national flag in canton, ratio 1:2 (from Flagmakers Catalogue).

Željko Heimer

In a display of the three service flags in the Defense Planning Staff briefing room, was an Indian Navy white ensign with the fly end truncated to conform the size to the 2:3 dimensions of the other two flags on display. Also, the naval ensign had the wheel (chakhra) on the white stripe of the canton dark gold instead of blue. I have no idea why; the ensign in the lobby of the naval officers' club had a standard blue chakhra.
Joe McMillan, 3 December 2000

In the July issue of the US Naval Institute's Proceedings, there's an article on the Indian Navy, illustrated with a number of photos taken at the Navy's recent Fleet Review. It appears to me that the Indian naval ensign's proportions are 2:3. Also, the overall red cross of the FOTW image looks wider than the ones of the ensigns in the photograph.
Tom Gregg, 15 July 2001

1950-2001 Rank Flags


[Admiral] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

A white flag with a red cross throughout and A blue Chakra (on white "background") in the middle of the cross, almost reaching the white fields. No doubt, a British influence is obvious here, as in many other Indian flags.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2001


[Vice-Admiral] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

As Admiral, defaced with a red ball in canton.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2001


[Rear-Admiral] 2:3, by Željko Heimer

Same as the admiral's flag defaced with two red balls, one in first and one in third quarter.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2001


Admiral's flag shaped as swallow-tailed "broad pennant".
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2001

President's Colour of the Indian Navy

[President's Colour of the Indian Navy] by Joe McMillan

From Das (1981), the President's Colour was first presented to the Indian Navy in 1950. It was a 36 x 48 inch (approx. 91 x 122 cm) flag based on the then-naval ensign, white with a St. George's cross and the Indian national flag in the canton. On the center of the cross was the state emblem--the Ashoka lions capital--in gold and in lower fly the elephant emblem from the president's personal standard, as in other Indian President's colours. Das says the elephant was silver fringed with gold thread, but his illustration shows it gold. I suspect he meant to say it was embroidered in silver gilt thread, which would make more sense, especially on a white background, so I've shown it in gold color. This flag presumably will be changed, if it hasn't already been, to conform to the design of the new Indian ensign, which has the naval badge in blue in place of the St. George's cross. I've shown the flag without fringe. I'm not sure whether it has it or not--the Sovereign's colour of the Royal Navy does not, and India might follow that precedent.
Joe McMillan, 27 January 2003

Confirming the gold color, the following is from the prominent Indian newspaper The Hindu, writing on 8 May 1951 about the first presentation of this colour:

"The President's Colour consisted of a white ensign with the State emblem--the Asoka lions--embroidered in gold on the centre. An elephant, which in the President's flag signified strength, was also embroidered in gold in the canton diagonally opposite the one containing the National Flag."

This article appears on line at
Joe McMillan, 4 February 2003

The photo of the colour dipped in salute to the President of India at the International Fleet Review in 2001 appears to show no fringe. Gold cord and tassels, however. See
Joe McMillan, 5 February 2003