Mumbai: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched INS Nilgiri and indigenously built submarine INS Khanderi, the first of the Navy’s seven new stealth frigates, at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL) in Mumbai on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, Singh said that the government is making concerted efforts to modernise the Navy and equip it with the best platforms, weapons and sensors to deal with any conventional and unconventional threats to India’s maritime interests.
INS Nilgiri is the first ship of Project 17A. Project 17A frigates is a design derivative of the Shivalik class stealth frigates with much more advanced stealth features and indigenous weapons and sensors.
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These frigates are being built using integrated construction methodology. The P17A frigates incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship manoeuvrability.
Singh also commissioned the largest dry dock of Indian Navy — The Aircraft Carrier Dock — at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. He termed it as an “edifice of modern India.”
INS Khanderi is the second of Kalvari Class diesel-electric attack submarines of the Indian Navy. It has been built in India to the French Scorpene design and is the second submarine of the Project-75. Built indigenously by MDSL, INS Khanderi is a lethal addition to Navy’s conventional submarine arsenal and is designed for silent and stealthy sub-surface operations.
INS Khanderi is the sequel to INS Kalvari, which was the first of the French origin Scorpene-class submarines being indigenously constructed in India.
‘State-sponsored terrorism remains a challenge’
Singh said that India is growing and its commercial interests are spreading far and beyond, yet there are challenges, including a hostile neighbourhood. “State-sponsored terrorism remains a challenge and the strong-willed government will not hesitate to take tough decisions in the larger interest of the country. The repealing of the provisions under Article 370 of the Constitution is one such decision. We are confident that this will usher a new era of development and prosperity in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” the minister said.
He said 70 percent of India’s trade by value and 95 percent by volume is taking place through the sea route and even a slight disruption of seaborne trade due to piracy, terrorism or conflict, could have serious repercussions on the economic growth and the well-being of the nation.
Making in India
Saying that “any credible defence of a country is based on the indigenous defence capability,” Singh emphasised on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Design and Make in India’ with regard to defence equipment.
The minister said that the Directorate of Naval Design has designed over 19 classes of ships to which more than 90 ships have been built since then. Today India belongs to an elite group of nations which is building its own aircraft carrier and strategic submarines, Singh said. “Out of the total 51 ships and submarines on order at various shipyards as on date, 49 are being constructed indigenously. This contributes to our target of building a five trillion dollar economy by 2025 and 70 percent defence indigenisation by 2027,” he said.
“A vibrant shipbuilding industry can play a major role in the overall economic development of the country,” Raksha Mantri said adding that shipbuilding is a labour-intensive industry and has tremendous potential for employment generation.