Describing the indigenous construction of an advanced stealth frigate for the Indian navy, ‘Vindhyagiri’ by Kolkata’s Garden Reach Shipyards as a symbol of India’s self-reliance in shipbuilding, President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday launched the ship at the dock on the banks of the river Hooghly here.
She also said the production of the advanced frigate was a symbol of Atmanirbhar Bharat and of technological advancement made by the country.
“I am very happy to be here at the launch of Vindhyagiri. This event marks a move forward in enhancing India’s maritime capabilities. Vindhyagiri is also a step towards achieving the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat through indigenous ship-building,” she said at the programme.
She congratulated the Indian Navy and everyone involved in the design and construction of this ship.
“I am told that Garden Reach Ship-builders and Engineers have constructed and delivered more than one hundred warships including frigates like Vindhyagiri. Your skill and tireless efforts have brought us to this milestone for which I appreciate the entire team at GRSE for its achievements,” she added. “Project 17A of which Vindhyagiri is a part, reflects our commitment to self-reliance and technological advancement. This project demonstrates indigenous innovation for developing state-of-the-art technology. I have been informed that the multi-mission frigates of this series would be capable of dealing with all kinds of threats to our maritime interests,” she said.
Murmu said this was her second visit to West Bengal as the President.
“The vibrant city of Kolkata, with its rich history and culture holds a special place in the heart of our nation. Its intellectual vibrancy, artistic fervour and the cosmopolitan spirit showcase the best of India.
Kolkata’s strategic location makes it vital for our naval preparedness, safeguarding our maritime interests and maintaining regional stability,” she added.
Murmu said the ship is aptly named after the ‘Vindhya’ ranges, which have been a symbol of fortitude. “I am confident that when this warship gets commissioned, it will symbolise the robustness of the Vindhyas”, she added.
“Today, India is the fifth largest economy in the world and we are striving to become the third largest economy in the near future. A growing economy means higher volumes of trade. A huge part of our trade-goods transit through the seas. This fact highlights the importance of oceans to our growth and well-being,” she said.
The President said the security in the Indian Ocean Region, and the larger Indo-Pacific has many aspects.
“It includes piracy, armed robbery, drug smuggling, illegal human migration, natural disasters and several such issues. Against this backdrop, the Indian Navy has the mandate to protect, preserve, and promote India’s maritime interests. The Navy has to always remain proactive in tackling security threats,” she added.
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were also present on the occasion.
This is the sixth of seven ships built under ‘Project 17 Alpha’ for the Navy. The first five ships of the project were launched between 2019 and 2022.
This is the third and last stealth frigate that the Kolkata-based warship maker was contracted to build for the Navy under the project.
AN official said 75 per cent of orders for equipment and systems of P17A ships are from indigenous firms, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The state-of-the-art ship will be fitted with the latest gadgets and undergo extensive trials before being handed over to the Indian Navy for commissioning into service.
P17A ships are guided missile frigates, each of which is 149 metres long, with the displacement of approximately 6,670 tonnes and a speed of 28 knots, according to a GRSE official. These are capable of neutralising threats in all three dimensions of air, surface and sub-surface.
Earlier in the day, the president launched ‘My Bengal, Addiction Free Bengal’ campaign under the ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’ organised by Brahma Kumaris at the Raj Bhavan.