India has great potential to become an indigenous hub for shipbuilding: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh

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On ICGS Vigraha, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that “from conception to development, the ship is completely indigenous”.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday the country had “a lot of leeway” to become an indigenous shipbuilding hub, while stressing that the Center had policies in place to help the domestic industry to become world class.

Speaking at an event marking the commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Vessel (ICGS) ‘Vigraha’, the last of seven Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), in Chennai, Singh said that at over the next two years, spending on security around the world will reach $ 2.1 trillion.

“Most countries don’t even have this level of budget for a whole year. And it is expected to increase dramatically over the next five years. In such a situation, we now have great latitude to fully utilize our capabilities, leverage policies and move forward towards transforming the country into an indigenous shipbuilding hub. I am happy to say that in view of these possibilities, the government has already put in place such policies which help our domestic industry, be it a public or private sector entity, to become class actors. global, ”Singh said.

On ICGS Vigraha, he said “from conception to development, the ship is completely native”. In addition, for the first time in Indian defense history, a contract for not one or two, but seven vessels was signed with a private sector company, Larsen and Toubro Limited, he noted.

“And more importantly, within seven years of signing this agreement in 2015, not only the launch but also the entry into service of all of these seven vessels have been completed today,” he said.

The 98-meter vessel, with a staff of 11 officers and 110 sailors, was locally designed and built by Larsen & Toubro Ship Building Limited.

It is equipped with state-of-the-art radar, navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery capable of operating in tropical sea conditions, according to a Defense statement.

ICGS Vigraha can carry one twin-engine helicopter and four high-speed boats for boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol.

The ship is also capable of carrying pollution control equipment to contain oil spills at sea, he said.

The ship is armed with a Bofors 40/60 cannon and fitted with two stabilized 12.7mm remote-controlled cannons with fire control system, he said, adding that the OPV will be based in Vishakhapatnam in the Andhra Pradesh.

Whether it is the navigation system or the communications equipment, sensors or other installed equipment, all of these will not only meet the needs of today, but also of the future for a long time to come. Mr. Singh said.

Referring to the fact that the “advanced light helicopter” manufactured by HAL can also be used on this ship, Mr. Singh said it was a symbol of how the government, coast guard and the public and private sectors can together protect the integrity and sovereignty of this country.

Vigraha, on the one hand, means free from any kind of bondage and on the other, “this has also been interpreted to mean the specific bondage of one’s duty and obligations,” Singh said.

“Ram is Ram because he is bound by his Dharma (duty) …. it is my firm belief that our Vigraha, completely free from the chains of any kind of challenge, and having specific bonds of service and duty towards the nation, will become an effective guard dog of the coastal borders of our country ”, he declared.

With the inclusion of these state-of-the-art vessels, the capacity of the Indian Coast Guard has increased dramatically and its growth path which started with a modest 5-7 small boats, has now grown to over 20 000 active members, more than 150 ships and a fleet of more than 65 planes, declared the Minister of the Union.

“On top of that, I was told, most of the Coast Guard platforms are native, which makes the trip much more rewarding.” “In addition to increasing its capacity, the Coast Guard is continually improving the capacity of our country. It is thanks to this increase in security capabilities that we have not suffered any terrorist accident by sea since the Bombay attack in 2008 ”, he declared.

He praised the force’s contribution to other countries.

During the fire of the heavy freighter “New Diamond” in 2020 and the freighter “Express Pearl” this year, he provided active and timely assistance to Sri Lanka, he said.

“If you hadn’t done this, I think the consequences would have been unimaginable,” Singh said.

He also recalled CG assistance provided to Mauritius during the oil spill of the motor vessel “Wakashio” “which was very commendable”. “I am happy to note that over the past two years, in cooperation with our neighboring countries, the Coast Guard has recovered goods worth over 10,000 crore, while facing contraband activity.” , noted Singh.

The specific threats to maritime security – piracy, terrorism, illicit trafficking in arms and narcotics, trafficking in human beings, illegal fishing and damage to the environment – are just as responsible for negatively affecting our maritime domain as they are everywhere else.

Likewise, in today’s interconnected world, activities that take place in any part of the world inevitably have an impact on other parts of the world.

“Today, the world is changing very quickly. Economic, political and trade relations between countries are constantly fluctuating. Nothing can be said about the next news from another country. Obviously, our country cannot remain indifferent to these developments. This applies all the more to a country like ours, being a nation whose interests are directly linked to the Indian Ocean, ”he said.

The Indian Ocean region, home to more than two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, one-third of bulk cargo and more than half of container traffic, is a key route for fulfilling the world’s interests.

“And as I just mentioned, today’s changing world is certainly impacting these areas as well. As such, we must be vigilant at all times, ”Singh stressed.

The Chief of Staff of the Army, General MM Naravane, the Director General of the Coast Guard K. Natarajan and the Minister of Industries of Tamil Nadu Thangam Thennarasu participated in the event.

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