After she took to the skies in a IAF Sukhoi fighter jet, President Pratibha Patil may have an underwater odyssey amid plans to set sail this month-end on INS Viraat, India's sole aircraft carrier, which just turned 50.
While the date was being firmed up by the Navy and the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials for December 28, official sources said today the President, after reviewing the Navy's Western fleet in Mumbai, will leave for Nilayam in Hyderabad for her annual winter retreat.
This visit will also give the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces an opportunity to get a first hand view of the
Navy's preparedness in coastal security after the Mumbai terror attacks last year, the sources said.
Patil is unlikely to spend a night on board the aircraft carrier which crossed the golden jubilee milestone on
November 18. The service life of the aircraft carrier is expected to last till 2015, nearly 15 years over and above its
life span of 40 years.
The President's sea sojourn comes barely a month after Patil took to skies in IAF's frontlinefighter aircraft --
Sukhoi 30MKI. She went up to the height of over 8,000 feet as a co-pilot in the plane which was commandeered by Wing Commander S Sajjan of Pune-based 30 'Rhinos' squadron.