Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissions INS Kalvari into the navy
A FORCE Report
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kalvari (S-21), the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75 (Kalvari Class) into the Indian Navy at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 14 December 2017. The event marked the formal induction into the navy of the first of the six submarines being constructed at Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL), in collaboration with the French builder M/s Naval Group.
Governor of Maharashtra Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS for defence Dr Subhash Bhamre, NSA Ajit Kumar Doval, CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, CMD, MDL Commodore Rakesh Anand (retd.), Commodore Subramanian (retd.), Commanding Officer of erstwhile Kalvari (a Soviet Foxtrot class submarine) and a host of other dignitaries were also present to witness this historic and landmark occasion.
Upon arrival at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, the Prime Minster was received by the Chief of the Naval Staff. The Prime Minster was presented a 100-man Guard of Honour and was introduced to the ship’s officers and other dignitaries present. Congratulating the people of India on this occasion, the Prime Minister described INS Kalvari as a prime example of ‘Make in India’. He commended all those involved in its manufacture. He described the submarine as an excellent illustration of the fast-growing strategic partnership between India and France. He said the INS Kalvari will add even more strength to the Indian Navy. The Prime Minister said that the 21st century is described as Asia’s century. He added that it is also certain that the road to development in the 21st century goes through the Indian Ocean. That is why the Indian Ocean has a special place in the policies of the government, he added.
Congratulating the MDL for restarting the production line of submarines once again, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman thanked the Yard workers, who she said “mattered high on this day”. The process of submarine construction has again been started in the country and it should not stop, the Raksha Mantri said. She emphasised the need to avoid episodic starts and stops in the industry and maintain a pool of skills needed to build high technology platforms within the country, sustenance of which would lead to a virtuous cycle of betterment for Indian industry, retention of skills and better peace dividends to the nation.
Welcoming the gathering, Admiral Sunil Lanba stated that this commissioning marked a milestone in the journey of the Indian Navy towards indigenous submarine building. The Indian Navy is deeply committed to the principle of indigenisation and the government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’. Commissioning of Kalvari is a testimony of our resolve and these achievements are a result of the Indian Navy’s proactive and integrated approach to achieve self reliance, the Admiral said.
MBDA India Head Loïc Piedevache, on the commissioning of INS Kalvari into the Indian Navy, said, “We congratulate the Indian government and all those involved in the induction of the INS Kalvari into service with the Indian Navy”. He further said, “MBDA is proud that its Exocet SM39 missile has been chosen to provide the Kalvari class of submarines with its advanced anti-ship capabilities, thereby reaffirming the company’s long-standing relationship with India’s armed forces”.
INS Kalvari is manned by a team comprising eight officers and 35 sailors with Captain SD Mehendale at the helm as her first Commanding Officer. The commissioning will augment the offensive capability of the Indian Navy, and the Western Naval Command in particular.