Defence Minister launches two indigenous frontline warships

"Surat" is the fourth P15B-class guided-missile destroyer, while "Udaygiri" is the second P17A-class stealth frigate.

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Nation First News:  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has launched two Indian Navy front-line warships – “Surat” and “Udaygiri”  at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL), Mumbai, according to an official publication on May 17, Tuesday.

“Surat” is the fourth P15B-class guided-missile destroyer, while “Udaygiri” is the second P17A-class stealth frigate. Both warships were designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL in Mumbai, the Defense Ministry said in a press release.

The Project 15B class of ships are the Indian Navy’s next-generation stealth guided-missile destroyers being built at MDL and are the successor class to the weapon-intensive P15A (Kolkata-class) destroyers.

Meanwhile, the P17A frigates are warships that are a successor class to the P17 frigates (Shivalik class) with improved stealth capabilities, advanced weapons and sensors, and platform management systems.

In his address, the Defence Minister described the warships as an embodiment of the government’s unwavering commitment to enhance the country’s maritime capability, with focus on achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’, at a time when the world is witnessing disruption in global supply chain due to COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the ministry said.

He congratulated the MDL on continuing ship production despite the pandemic and on meeting the strategic needs of the Indian Navy in the current geopolitical scenario.

Singh said the two warships would strengthen the Indian Navy’s arsenal and represent India’s strategic strength and self-reliance to the world.

“INS Udaygiri and INS Surat are the 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. In the times to come, we will not only fulfil our own needs, but will also meet the shipbuilding requirements of the world. We will soon realise Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’,” he said.

He commended the Indian Navy for responsibly fulfilling its duties to keep the Indo-Pacific region open and safe.

“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. The Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) is based on the spirit of friendship, openness, dialogue and co-existence with the neighbours. With that very vision, Indian Navy is effectively discharging its duties,” he said.

Singh believed that the ever-evolving security scenario in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region would require an even more important role for the Indian Navy in the times to come.

He called for the development of policies focused on strengthening the country’s presence in the region, its role in disasters, economic well-being and the continuation of foreign policy.

The Defense Minister also commended the Indian Navy for its crucial role in implementing government policies such as Act-East, alongside strengthening ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries.

Referring to his recent visit to the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) headquarters in Hawaii, he said they had expressed their willingness to cooperate with India, which symbolizes the competence of the Indian Armed Forces; especially the commendable work of the Indian Navy.

“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. 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,” said Singh.

Shri Rajnath Singh appreciated the fact that the Indian Navy has always been at the forefront of ensuring self-reliance through the manufacture of indigenous vessels, submarines etc. (AON) and 66% cost based contracts with Indian suppliers in 2014 and an indigenization of about 90% of naval ammunition has taken place. In addition, over two-thirds of the Navy’s modernization budget has been spent on domestic procurement over the past five fiscal 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’,” he said, expressing confidence that the steps taken by the government to achieve self-reliance will fully support its efforts.

The Defence Minister made special mention of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Vikrant’, terming it as a major milestone in the Indian Navy’s path of ‘Aatmanirbharta’. He hoped that the carrier will increase India’s reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The commissioning of ‘INS Vikrant’ will be a golden moment in the Indian defence history, he said.

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