INDIA. Mumbai: In a historic milestone, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh simultaneously launched two frontline warships of the Indian Navy-‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in South Mumbai on Tuesday.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command (WNC), Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Maharashtra Assembly Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena MLA Yamini Jadhav, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar, former MLA Sachin Ahir, MDL CMD Vice Admiral (Retd) Narayan Prasad, other senior officers from the Indian Navy, Ministry of Defence and MDL were among the dignitaries present on occasion.
‘Surat’ is the P15B class’s fourth Guided Missile Destroyer. The warship is a significant upgrade to the P15A (Kolkata Class) Destroyers.
She is named after Gujarat’s commercial capital. In 2021, the first ship of this class was commissioned. The second and third ships have been launched and are in various stages of outfitting and testing.
The ‘Udaygiri’ is the P17A class’s second Stealth Frigate. She was named after the Andhra Pradesh mountain range. The ship is the successor to the P17 Frigates (Shivalik Class), with improved stealth, advanced weapons and sensors, and platform management systems.
The reincarnation of the erstwhile ‘Udaygiri,’ the Leander Class Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Frigate, saw numerous challenging operations in its illustrious service to the country for three decades from Feb 18, 1976, to Aug 24, 2007.
‘Surat’ was launched by float launching method with a launch weight of approximately 3000 MT, while ‘Udaygiri’ was launched with a launch weight of approximately 3510 MT. Both warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL.
In his address, Singh said that these warships would add might to the Indian Navy’s arsenal and represent India’s strategic strength and the power of self-reliance to the world. They are the shining examples of India’s growing indigenous capability, and they will be among the most technologically advanced missile carriers in the world.
In the future, we will not only fulfill our own needs but will also meet the shipbuilding requirements of the world. We will soon realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’, he added.
Singh appreciated that the Indian Navy has always been at the forefront of ensuring self-reliance by manufacturing indigenous ships, submarines, etc. “Joining hands with initiatives like ‘Make in India,’ the Navy has given 76% Acceptance of Necessity (AON) and 66% cost-basis contracts to Indian vendors in 2014, and indigenization of about 90% Naval ammunition has taken place.
In addition, over two-thirds of the Navy’s Modernisation budget was spent on indigenous procurement in the last five financial years. Of the 41 ships and submarines ordered by the Navy, 39 are from Indian shipyards.
“This is a testament to the Navy’s commitment to achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliance India),” he added.
He also praised the Indian Navy for playing a crucial role in carrying forward the Government’s policies, such as Act-East, besides strengthening relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries.
He recalled his recent visit to the Headquarters of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in Hawaii. He said that they expressed their willingness to work with India, which symbolizes the competence of the Indian Armed Forces, especially the commendable work being carried out by the Indian Navy.
Singh made special mention of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier’ INS Vikrant’, terming it a significant milestone in the Indian Navy’s path of ‘Aatmanirbharta.’ He hoped that the carrier would increase India’s reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.
He added that the commissioning of ‘INS Vikrant’ would be a golden moment in Indian defense history.
In his speech, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar appreciated the role of the Director of Naval Design and MDL staff dedicatedly involved in the production right from laying the keel of a ship to its completion.
The naval ships worth over Rs 1.75 lakh crore are in the pipeline, and the Indian Navy is at the forefront of defence production. It has also been maintaining liaison with an allied group of nations.
In keeping with the Naval traditions, President NWWA (Western Region) Smt Charu Singh (spouse of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bhadur Singh) and Smt Jaishree Prasad (spouse of MDL CMD Vice Admiral (Retd) Narayan Prasad) blessed and named the ships’ Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ respectively.
The launching was carried out in tandem with the rising and receding tides. The DND and MDL teams have once again demonstrated their capabilities for designing and building quality warships. This launch also marks the commencement of the next phase involving extensive outfitting activities by the Shipyards readying these ships for delivery.