Jahi Shatrun Mahabaho loosely means ‘armed to conquer the enemy’ in Sanskrit. It’s an apt motto for the guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi, packed with weapons and sensors as well as advanced stealth features, which will be commissioned on Wednesday as the largest-ever warship to be built in India till now.
Destroyers are second only to aircraft carriers in projecting raw combat power on the high seas. Induction of the 7,500-tonne INS Kochi, the second of the three Kolkata-class destroyers being built at Mazgaon Docks (MDL) at Mumbai for over Rs 4,000 crore apiece, will make it the 10th destroyer in India’s combat fleet.
The first of this class, INS Kolkata, was commissioned in August last year, while the third INS Chennai will be inducted towards end-2016. There is also the even bigger ongoing Rs 29,644-crore project to build another four stealth destroyers at MDL, with the first INS Visakhapatnam slated for delivery in 2018-2019.
It’s no wonder the Navy is all excited. “INS Kochi will add more teeth to the Navy’s sword arm in discharging our duty of safe-guarding maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It further reaffirms our resolve and faith in indigenous ship-building and the ‘Make in India’ programme,” said Admiral Robin Dhowan on Monday.
The Navy, on its part, has plans to become a 200-warship force with around 600 aircraft and helicopters by 2027 to ensure it can effectively guard the country’s expanding geo-strategic interests in the backdrop of the IOR emerging as “the world’s centre of gravity”.
The IOR has over 120 warships at any given time, with China fast becoming a force to reckon with in the region.
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