Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commissioned the indigenously built Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vigraha’ in Chennai on Saturday.
At the ship’s commissioning ceremony in Chennai, Rajnath Singh said he had a firm belief that ‘Vigraha’ would become a “successful watchdog of the coastal borders of our country.”
“The word ‘Vigraha’ has very beautiful interpretations in our texts. On the one hand, its meaning has been told to be ‘free from any kind of bondage’, on the other hand, it has also been interpreted to mean the specific ‘bondage of one’s duty and obligations’,” Rajnath Singh said.
The 98-meter Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), with a complement of 11 officers and 110 sailors, has been designed and built by Larsen & Toubro Ship Building Limited. From its design conception to development, the ship is completely indigenous.
Vigraha is seventh in the series of OPVs, starting from ‘Vikram’, ‘Vijay’, ‘Veer’, ‘Varaha’, ‘Varad’ and ‘Vajra’.
It is fitted with advanced technology radars, navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery capable of operating in tropical sea conditions. The vessel is armed with a 40/60 Bofors gun and fitted with two 12.7 mm Stabilised Remote Control Gun with fire control system.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the commissioning of this ship showcases significant improvement in India’s coastal defence capability as also the “ever-increasing self-reliance”.
“The journey of growth of our Indian Coast Guard, which began with a modest 5-7 small boats, has today grown to over 20,000 active personnel, over 150 vessels, and a fleet of over 65 aircrafts,” Rajnath Singh said.
Rajnath Singh said since its inception, the Indian Coast Guard has made its mark at the international level by playing a leading role in coastal security as well as in maritime crises, and disasters.
“Be it the protection of our fishing community living in our coastal areas, extending assistance to Department of Customs or other similar authorities, protection of our islands and terminals, or scientific data collection and support, you have served the nation, in many ways,” Rajnath Singh said.
“It is the result of this augmentation in the security capabilities that we have not suffered any terrorist accident by sea route since the 2008 Mumbai attack,” the defence minister added.
‘TACKLING SECURITY THREATS’
Citing a 2008 United Nations (UN) report on Ocean and Law of the Sea, Rajnath Singh said there are specific threats to maritime security including piracy, terrorism, illicit trafficking of arms and narcotics, human trafficking, illegal fishing and damage to environment.
“All these activities are equally responsible for adversely affecting our maritime domain as they are anywhere else. Similarly, in today’s inter-connected world, the activities going on in any part of the world inevitably have an impact on the other parts of the world,” Rajnath Singh said.
“I am happy to note that in the last two years, in cooperation with our neighbouring countries, the Coast Guard has recovered goods worth more than ten thousand crore rupees, while dealing with smuggling activities,” he added.
Rajnath Singh said changes happening around the world often become a matter of concern for the country and India must keep her guards high.
“Due to global security reasons, border disputes, and maritime dominance, countries around the world are moving towards modernizing and strengthening their military power. The demand for military equipment is increasing continuously,” he said.
Source – India Today