Mumbai, Nov 21 (MNN) A P15B stealth guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Naval Dockyard here on Sunday in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
It is the first of the four ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers indigenously designed by Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, the Directorate of Naval Design, and constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Mumbai.
In his address, the Minister said INS Visakhapatnam is a symbol of the growing maritime prowess of India and a major milestone in achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’.
Rajnath Singh said he was confident that the state-of-the-art ship will strengthen maritime security and protect national interests.
He said the ship is one of the most technologically advanced guided missile destroyers in the world which will cater to the present and future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
The Minister said that the Indian Navy’s order for 39 of the 41 ships and submarines from Indian shipyards is a testament to their commitment towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
He said even the development of indigenous aircraft carrier ‘INS Vikrant’ is an important milestone in their path to achieve self-reliance.
“The carrier will increase our reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Its commissioning will be a golden moment in the history of the Indian defence. It will be the best occasion to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and the 50th anniversary of India’s victory in 1971 war,” he said.
The Minister praised the Indian Navy’s consistent efforts to participate in various outreach programmes of the industries and increase indigenised items under ‘Float’, ‘Move’ and ‘Fight’ categories.
Saying that global security reasons, border disputes and maritime dominance have forced countries to move towards strengthening their military power, Rajnath Singh exhorted the public and private sectors to take advantage of Indian government’s policies, work together and make India an indigenous shipbuilding hub.
He listed out a number of reforms undertaken by the government through which the public and private sector companies can make their mark in the international market.
The steps include simplification of licensing process; speeding up Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) and Request for Proposal (RFP) process; setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; positive indigenous lists of over 200 items; Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 and earmarking around 64 per cent of its modernisation funds under capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 for procurement from domestic companies.
Rajnath Singh emphasised the need to keep the Indo-Pacific region open, safe and secure, terming it as the primary objective of the Indian Navy.
He asserted that India’s interests are directly linked with the Indian Ocean and the region is crucial for the world economy.
“Challenges such as piracy, terrorism, illegal smuggling of arms and narcotics, human trafficking, illegal fishing and damage to the environment are equally responsible for affecting the maritime domain. Therefore, the role of the Indian Navy becomes very important in the entire Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
He underscored the importance of a rule-based freedom of navigation and security of sea lanes in the present era of globalisation to ensure stability, economic progress and development of the world.
Rajnath Singh lauded the Indian Navy for taking forward the Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) with the spirit of friendship, openness, dialogue and co-existence with the neighbours.
INS Visakhapatnam measures 163m in length, 17m in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India.
The ship is propelled by four powerful gas turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas configuration, and capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots.
The ship has a total complement of 315 personnel. Enhanced crew comfort is a significant feature of INS Visakhapatnam, which has been ensured through ergonomically designed accommodation based on ‘modular’ concepts.
The ship will be under the command of Captain Birendra Singh Bains, a Navigation and Direction specialist.
With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Visakhapatnam will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility towards accomplishment of its tasks and goals.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh; Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar; Chairman and Managing Director, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad (retd); and other senior civil and military officials were present during the commissioning ceremony of INS Visakhapatnam.