- Defense Minister Rajnath Singh launched two indigenously built warships ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’.
- He said this will “add might” to the Navy’s arsenal and represent India’s strategic strength.
- The ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday launched two indigenously built warships ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, and said this will “add might” to the Navy’s arsenal and represent India’s strategic strength before the world. This is the first time that two indigenously built warships have been launched concurrently, the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) said.
The ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at the Mumbai-based MDL, a premiership and submarine building defense public sector undertaking.
The launch of a ship marks the commencement of the next phase involving extensive outfitting activities by the shipyards preparing these vessels for delivery. At the event, Singh said the building of these two warships leaves no doubt that in the coming days, India will not only cater to its needs in the arena of shipbuilding but will also take care of the requirements of others.
“The two warships will add might to the Indian Navy’s arsenal and represent to the world India’s strategic strength as well as the power of self-reliance,” he said. The defense minister further said the indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’ is a major milestone in the Navy’s path of “Aatmanirbharta” (self-reliance), and expressed hope that this will increase the country’s reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.
“The commissioning of Vikrant will be a golden moment in India’s defense history,” he said. As per the Navy, ‘Surat’ is the fourth ship of Project 15B Destroyers, which heralds a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) destroyers, and is named after the commercial capital of Gujarat and also the second-largest commercial hub of western India after Mumbai.
The Project 15B class of ships is the Navy’s next-generation stealth-guided missile destroyers being built at the MDL. ‘Udaygiri’, named after a mountain range in Andhra Pradesh, is the third ship of Project 17A Frigates. P17A Frigates are warships that are a follow-on class of the P17 (Shivalik Class) Frigates with improved stealth features, advanced weapons, sensors, and platform management systems, the Navy said.
The new warship is the reincarnation of the erstwhile ‘Udaygiri’, the Leander Class ASW Frigate, which saw numerous challenging operations in its illustrious service to the country, spanning over three decades from February 1976 to August 2007, it said.
Seven P17A Frigates are under various stages of construction at the MDL and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), the Navy said. “It gives me immense pleasure to be present amongst all of you, at the launching ceremony of INS ‘Surat’ and INS ‘Udaygiri’. In such a historical land, which has been the karmabhoomi of heroes like Veer Shivaji, Sambhaji, and Kanhoji, the launch of these warships becomes even more important,” Singh said.
Noting that Gujarat’s Surat city is famous for diamonds, Singh said in the coming days, the ‘Surat’ warship will prove to be a ‘diamond’ for the Indian Navy. He said these warships are an embodiment of the government’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the country’s maritime capability, with a focus on achieving self-reliance, at a time when the world is witnessing disruption in the global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The INS Udaygiri and INS Surat are shining examples of India’s growing indigenous capability. The warships will be among the most technologically advanced missile carriers in the world that will cater to the present as well as future requirements,” he said. Singh said the Indo-Pacific region is important for the economy of the whole world.
“India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region. We support consensus-based principles and peaceful, open, rule-based, and stable maritime order. Being an important country in this region, it is the primary objective of our Navy to keep the Indo-Pacific open, safe, and secure,” he said.
If a country wants to safeguard its national interests, it should project its military prowess in areas far beyond the mainland. If a country has aspirations to become a regional or global power, it is necessary to develop a strong naval force, Singh said.
“The government is making all efforts in this direction. We want to make a strong, secure, and prosperous India, which is recognized as a global power,” Singh said. Navy chief Admiral S Hari Kumar said both the warships – Surat and Udaygiri – will become versatile and powerful tools to move towards this endeavor and support a larger national vision. “They will also ensure safe, secure, and prosperous global commons for all,” he said.
“Nearly 75 per cent of the total cost of constructing these ships is being invested back in our economy,” he said, adding that the Navy’s thrust has been on self-reliance.
“To support the ‘Make in India’ initiative, 80 per cent AoNs (Acceptance of Necessity) on a cost basis have been awarded to Indian vendors, amounting to an investment of nearly Rs 1,75,000 crore back into the Indian economy. Indigenous shipbuilding projects, such as these, are also catalysts for employment generation and skill development,” he said.