Navy flexes maritime muscle; INS Viraat on a swansong

Navy flexes maritime muscle; INS Viraat  on a swansong

As the Indian Navy majestically paraded 70 warships flexing its military muscle in the Bay of Bengal, it was the ageing INS Viraat’ swansong.

INS Viraat has been the symbol of India’s naval might for the past 25 years. The aircraft carrier with its complement Sea Harrier jump jets and helicopters was deployed on a mission for the last time when President Pranab Mukherjee reviewed the fleet.

Under the command of Captain Puneet Chadha, the carrier launched four jets of the White Tiger squadron that flew in formation over the audience that included the President and Supreme Commander of the armed forces Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.  Naidu has taken an initiative to bring the carrier to his state after decommissioning to convert it into a museum in the same way as yesteryear's submarine INS Kursura was converted into a museum on the beach here.

“After the international fleet review, INS Viraat will go for short refit in Cochin shipyard before returning to Mumbai. Once it reaches Mumbai, the decommissioning process will start,” Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, commander in chief of the Western Naval Command told Deccan Herald, adding: “We have written to all coastal states proposing to take over INS Viraat as we don't want to scrap it.  “The Andhra Pradesh government is keen and we had few rounds of discussions with them.  The state government is now carrying out an assessment on the costs it would incur and if there could be a public-private partnership,” said Vice Admiral Satish Soni, commander in chief of the Eastern Naval Command, which organised the mega maritime show.

Naidu has proposed Visakhapatnam and Kakinada as the two resting sites for the carrier, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

Bengalurean guard commander
A Bengalurean has served as the Guard Commander for International Fleet Review 2016 in Visakhapatnam on Saturday, DHNS reports from Bengaluru.

Lieutenant Commander Muckatira Suraja Aiyappa, who studied at the St Joseph Boys School, was inspired to join the forces from early days from his father. He is the son of  Lt Colonel (retired) M A Kariappa, formerly of 9 Para Commando, who was awarded the Sena Medal during the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

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