Perpetrators of drone attacks on merchant vessels will soon be brought to justice, says Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh was speaking during the commissioning of stealth guided missile destroyer INS Imphal.

December 26, 2023 03:24 pm | Updated 05:45 pm IST - Mumbai

Union Defence Minister speaks at the commissioning ceremony of INS Imphan in Mumbai on December 26, 2023. Twitter/@rajnathsingh

Union Defence Minister speaks at the commissioning ceremony of INS Imphan in Mumbai on December 26, 2023. Twitter/@rajnathsingh

India’s growing power has filled some forces with jealousy and hatred and perpetrators of attacks on merchant vessels ‘Chem Pluto’ and ‘Sai Baba’ will soon be brought to justice, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on December 26. He was speaking at the commissioning of P-15B class stealth guided missile destroyer Imphal, the first warship to have been named after a city from the North East, at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.

“The recent drone attacks... have been taken very seriously by the Indian Government... Whoever masterminded the attack, we will find them from the bottom of the sea and strict action will be taken against them,” Mr. Singh said. “India plays the role of a net security provider in the entire Indian Ocean Region. We will ensure that maritime trade in this region touches greater heights. For this, together with our friendly countries, we will keep the sea lanes secure. We have full confidence in the ability and strength of our Navy.”


Mr. Singh said that with the Himalayas in the north and the hostile behaviour of Pakistan in the west, most of India’s goods trade comes through sea, which makes it an island country from ‘trade’ perspective and stressed on the need to continuously develop the Navy’s capabilities as global trade is of great importance to India to secure its national interests.

Liberian flagged Chem Pluto which was hit by a projectile on December 23 reached Mumbai on December 25 and preliminary assessment by Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist indicated that it was a drone attack. Gabon-flagged m.v. Sai Baba with an Indian crew was hit by a drone in Southern Red Sea.

In this regard, Navy Chief Adm R. Hari Kumar said that the Navy presently has four destroyers of Project 15B & 15A class deployed to counter piracy and drone attacks on merchant shipping. Also the P8I aircraft, Dorniers, Sea Guardians Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, helicopters and Coast Guard ships all deployed jointly to counter these threats, he stated.

INS Imphal is the third of four indigenous ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers, designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau and constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), Mumbai. The ship measures 163m in length, 17m in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes and is propelled by four powerful gas turbines. The first two destroyers of this class INS Visakhapatnam and INS Mormugao were commissioned into the Navy in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Navy Chief Adm R. Hari Kumar exuded confidence that the 4th ship ‘Surat’ will be commissioned in 2024.

The keel of INS Imphal was laid on May 19, 2017 and the ship was launched on April 20, 2019. The ship sailed for her maiden sea sortie on April 28, 2023, and underwent comprehensive trials in harbour and at sea, with its delivery on October 20, 2023 marking a record time frame of less than six months. “The time taken to build INS Imphal and undergo trials has been the shortest for any indigenous destroyer. The ship successfully completed the first-ever test-firing of extended range BrahMos missile prior to its commissioning, making it ‘weapon-ready’,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The ship has a total complement of about 315 personnel, and is commanded by Captain K. K. Choudhury, a gunnery and missiles specialist. It will augment the Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility in safeguarding the nation’s maritime security and interests.

INS Imphal has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced radar cross section, achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent material on exposed decks.

The ship features about 75% indigenous content the statement noted and the indigenous equipment/systems include Combat Management System, rocket launcher, torpedo launcher, integrated platform management system, automated power management system, foldable hangar doors, Helo traversing system, close-in weapon system, and the bow-mounted Sonar.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.