Mumbai: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Tuesday, launched two frontline warships of the Indian Navy - ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ - at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai and praised the efforts of the Indian Navy for its continuous efforts towards ‘Aatmanirbharta’.
‘Surat’ is the fourth Guided Missile Destroyer of the P15B class, while ‘Udaygiri’ is the second Stealth Frigate of P17A class.
In his address at the launch of frontline warships, Singh described the warships as an embodiment of the government’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the country’s maritime capability, while focussing on ‘Aatmanirbharta’.
The minister appreciated the fact that the Indian Navy has always been at the forefront in ensuring self-reliance through the manufacturing of indigenous ships, submarines, etc.
“Joining hands with initiatives like ‘Make in India’, the Navy has given 76 per cent Acceptance of Necessity (AON), and 66 per cent cost-basis contracts to Indian vendors in 2014, and the indigenization of about 90 per cent of the Naval ammunition has taken place,” he said.
Expressing confidence in the steps taken by the government to achieve self-reliance he affirmed, “In addition, more than two-thirds of the Navy’s modernisation budget has been 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’.”
He further, made a special mention of INS Vikrant, terming it a major milestone in the Navy’s path of Aatmanirbharta.
Singh assured that the two warships will add might to the Indian Navy’s arsenal and represent India’s strategic strength as well as the power of self-reliance, before 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,” he said.
He also lauded the Indian Navy for responsibly discharging its duties of keeping the Indo-Pacific region open, safe and secure.
“The Indo-Pacific region is important for the economy of the whole world. India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region,” he added.
“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 coexistence with the neighbors. With that very vision, the Indian Navy is effectively discharging its duties,” he added.
He also said that the Indian Navy plays a 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.
Recalling his recent visit to the Headquarters of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in Hawaii, he said that their willingness to work with India symbolized the competence of the Indian Armed Forces.