New Delhi: Indian Navy’s fourth submarine of Project 75 – INS Vela which is the new avatar of Foxtrot submarine is a “potent platform with an ability to undertake the entire spectrum of operations,” said Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.
Speaking at the commissioning of the submarine at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) built in partnership with France’s Naval Group and MBDA, he congratulated all personnel who have worked tirelessly towards this commissioning.
He said it was a time-honoured naval custom that ‘old ships never die.’ In keeping with this tradition, Vela takes her name from her illustrious predecessor. The old Vela, was a Foxtrot class Submarine acquired from the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1973 and she served the nation for 37 glorious years.
“We are fortunate today to have in our midst Rear Admiral Sodhi, the commissioning CO and crew members of the erstwhile Vela. A big round of applause for all of them,” he said.
The Navy Chief said in today’s dynamic and complex security situation, “Vela’s capabilities and firepower will play a crucial role in enhancing the Navy’s ability to protect, promote, and preserve India’s maritime interests across the seascape of the Indian Ocean Region, while acting as a clear deterrent to our adversaries.”
He said submarine building involves high levels of sophistication, with requirement of high degree of precision. “The platform in front of us today showcases India’s notable strides in indigenous submarine construction, as also the journey from being a ‘Buyer’s Navy to a Builder’s Navy’. We witnessed a glimpse of this journey few days back as well, when INS Visakhapatnam was commissioned,” Admiral Singh said.
The Navy shipyards, such as Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, are important enablers in this quest, he said adding defence relations between France and India were formalised through the strategic partnership in 1998 and reinforced by the ‘Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the IOR’ adopted in March 2018.
“The French defence ecosystem has been a key partner in Indian Navy’s capability enhancement endeavours. The Alouette Helicopter, and the erstwhile Alize carrier borne ASW aircraft are successful examples of the close collaboration between two likeminded nations. The P-75 project represents the growing strategic congruence between the two nations, and today’s commissioning marks another high-point in this enduring partnership,” he said.
The Navy chief said Project 75-I aims to develop all facets of the submarine construction ecosystem within the Nation and also involves transfer of several niche technologies. This project would significantly enhance our ability to work with cutting-edge defence manufacturing technologies, with implications, not only for the Navy, but also for the Nation.
Besides providing dividends to the indigenous industry, ship and submarine building projects inject significant stimulus into the economy through a ‘plough back’ effect, he said.
Admiral Singh said they also support skilling of the workforce and growth of employment opportunities in ancillary industries. This is specifically relevant for construction of complex platforms, like submarines, that require a vast network of supporting upstream and downstream industries, contributing considerably to India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘AtmaNirbharta’ initiatives.
“As you commission this potent platform into the Indian Navy, an onerous responsibility rests upon your shoulders. You must, at all times, be cognisant of the great faith and trust that the Nation places in your abilities. You must continuously endeavour to live up to these expectations, guided by the Navy’s Core Values of ‘Duty, Honour, Courage,” he said.