Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commissions INS Sandhayak into Navy at Eastern Naval base in Visakhapatnam

Addressing the gathering, Minister Rajnath Singh said that the ship will further strengthen India’s role as a superpower in the Indo-Pacific region

February 03, 2024 05:59 pm | Updated 08:23 pm IST - Visakhapatnam

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inspecting the guard of honour before commissioning INS Sandhayak into the Indian Navy at the Eastern Naval Command base in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inspecting the guard of honour before commissioning INS Sandhayak into the Indian Navy at the Eastern Naval Command base in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. | Photo Credit: V. Raju

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has commissioned INS Sandhayak, first survey vessel large ship, into Indian Navy in a ceremony at the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) base here on February 3.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Singh said that the ship will further strengthen India’s role as a superpower in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ship’s role is to carry out full scale hydrographic surveys of ports, harbours, navigational channels, routes, coastal areas and deep seas, towards enabling safe marine navigation. It will go a long way in obtaining information about the oceans and achieve the twin objective of protecting the country as well as others.

“The ocean is vast and bottomless. The more we are able to explore its elements, the more our knowledge will expand, and we will become stronger. The more we gather information about the ocean, its ecology, its flora and fauna, the closer we will get to achieving our objectives. The more we know about the ocean, the more meaningfully we will be able to fulfil our strategic interests,” he said.

While explaining the security aspect of the country, Mr Singh termed the Indian Ocean as a hotspot for global trade. “Many choke points like Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Guinea are present in the Indian Ocean, through which a large amount of international trade takes place. Many threats remain at these choke points, the biggest being from pirates,” he said, referring to the hijack attempts on Merchant Vessels in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Navy’s courage and promptness to rescue the ships from the pirates.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the gathering following the commission of INS Sandhayak at the Eastern Naval Command base in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the gathering following the commission of INS Sandhayak at the Eastern Naval Command base in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. | Photo Credit: V Raju

Mr. Singh assured that those involved in maritime piracy and smuggling will not be tolerated under any circumstances, describing it as the pledge of ‘New India’.

He lauded the Indian Navy for providing security to friendly countries, and referred to the recent drone attack on a British ship in the Gulf of Aden which resulted in the oil tankers catching fire. He also praised the Navy for averting five piracy attempts and assisting ships attacked by drones and missiles in the last few days, in addition to rescuing 80 fishermen.

“Our aim is to stop illegal and unregulated fishing in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region. The Navy is stopping narcotics and human trafficking in this region. It is not only committed to stopping piracy, but also making this entire region peaceful and prosperous. INS Sandhayak will play a crucial role in achieving our objective,” Mr. Singh concluded.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar stated that the commissioning ceremony marked the formal induction of the first of the four ships of the SVL Project under construction at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. The project has been steered by the Warship Design Bureau of the Indian Navy.

‘Sandhayak’ means the one who carries out a special search. The crest depicts the sixteen points of a mariner’s compass, enclosing a ‘divider’ and an ‘anchor’ riding the sea, symbolising the charting of oceans, which is the basic role of the survey ship, he added.

The keel was laid on March 12, 2019 and the ship was launched on December 5, 2021. It has undergone a comprehensive schedule of trials in harbour and at sea, leading up to commissioning. The ship has a displacement of 3,400 tons and an overall length of 110 meters with a beam of 16m.

INS Sandhayak is equipped with hydrographic equipment including deep & shallow water multi-beam echo-sounders, autonomous underwater vehicle, remotely operated vehicle, side scan sonars, data acquisition and processing system, satellite-based positioning systems and terrestrial survey equipment. The ship is propelled by two diesel engines and is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 18 knots. It has an indigenous content of over 80% by cost and is a tribute to the collaborative efforts between the Indian Navy and Industry, including MSMEs, said Admiral Hari Kumar.

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