As the sun sets on Friday, the glorious era of one of India’s frontline warships will come to an end at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
The first destroyer of the Indian Navy, INS Rajput, will be decommissioned according to the naval traditions.
INS Rajput, the lead ship of the Kashin-class destroyers built by the erstwhile USSR, was commissioned on May 4, 1980, and has rendered yeoman service to the Indian Navy for over 41 years. The ship will be decommissioned at a solemn ceremony.
Owing to the pandemic, the ceremony will be a low-key event attended only by in-station officers and sailors with strict observance of COVID protocols.
INS Rajput was constructed in the 61 Communards Shipyard in Nikolaev (present-day Ukraine) under her original Russian name ‘Nadezhny’ meaning ‘Hope’.
The keel of the ship was laid on September 11, 1976, and she was launched on September 17, 1977.
The ship was commissioned as INS Rajput on May 4, 1980, at Poti, Georgia by I.K. Gujral, the then Ambassador of India to USSR with Captain Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani as her first Commanding Officer.
The ship has the distinction of serving in both Western and Eastern Fleets.
The ship has participated in several operations, as part of national security. Some of these include Operation Aman off Sri Lanka to assist IPKF, Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka, Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation off the Maldives, and Operation Crowsnest off Lakshadweep.
In addition, the ship participated in numerous bilateral and multinational exercises. The ship was also the first Indian Naval Ship to be affiliated with an Indian Army regiment, the Rajput Regiment.
In her glorious 41 years, the ship had 31 Commanding Officers at her helm with the last CO taking charge of the ship on August 14, 2019. As the sun sets on Friday, the Naval Ensign and the Commissioning Pennant will be hauled down for the last time onboard INS Rajput, symbolising the decommissioning.