New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday dedicated to the Nation, indigenously built Coast Guard Ship 'Vigraha' in Chennai. Terming it an important step towards achieving 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat', the Minister said the ship is a perfect example of a successful partnership between the public and private sector.
Stating that public-private partnership is the way forward to achieving 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat,' he highlighted that for the first time in the history of Indian defence, contracts for not one or two, but seven vessels have been signed with a private sector company. And more importantly, within seven years of signing this agreement in 2015, not only launch but also the commissioning of all these seven vessels have been completed today.
On the changing global security environment, Singh stated that countries around the world are strengthening their military power and the government, through various reforms, is ensuring that India is not left behind. "We are leaving no stone unturned to develop a strong and powerful military and a self-reliant defence industry," he stressed.
Singh listed out some of the reforms including simplification of the process of licensing in the defence sector, accelerating the AoN and RFP processes, emphasizing exports, encouraging private sectors, establishing defence corridors, the promulgation of the new Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020.
The Defence Minister exuded confidence that due to these reforms India will soon become a defence manufacturing hub that will cater to not just the domestic needs but to the whole world.
Saying that the economic, political and trade relations between countries are constantly fluctuating, the Defence Minister stressed that India cannot remain untouched by these developments as "our interests are directly linked to the Indian ocean." He described the Indian Ocean region as a key route not just for India but for the entire world as it is home to more than two-thirds of the oil shipments, one-third of bulk cargo and over half of the container traffic. With the continuously changing regional scenario, Singh emphasised the need to remain vigilant at all times. "We, as a nation, must keep our guards high during these times of uncertainties and upheavals around the world," he said.
The Minister lauded the efforts of the Coast Guard towards realising the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) envisaged by the Prime Minister with a focus on the spirit of friendship, openness, dialogue and co-existence with the neighbours with a keen sense of duty as its core.
Minister recalled the Indian Coast Guard's role in extending help to neighbouring countries in line with the spirit of inclusiveness. He hailed the role of Coast Guard in providing pro-active help in saving Very large crude carrier MT 'New Diamond' last year, and the cargo ship MV 'X-Press Pearl'. He also commended the efforts of the Coast Guard for its assistance provided to Mauritius during the oil spill from the 'Wakashio' motor vessel.
ICGS Vigraha will be based at Visakhapatnam and operate on India's Eastern Seaboard under the Operational and Administrative Control of the Commander, Coast Guard Region (East). ICGS Vigraha is commanded by Commandant PN Anoop has a complement of 11 Officers and 110 men.
The 98 meters OPV has been designed and built indigenously by Larsen & Toubro Ship Building Ltd., and is fitted with advanced technology Radars, Navigation and Communication Equipment, Sensor 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 (SRCG) with Fire Control System. The ship is also equipped with Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS) and High-Power External Firefighting (EFF) system.