Defence Minister Launches Navy’s First New Stealth Frigate INS ‘Nilgiri’

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New Delhi: In yet another boost to the country’s Naval strength, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh September 28 launched the first of the seven new stealth frigates INS ‘Nilgiri’ in what he said was the government’s concerted efforts to modernise the Navy and equip it with the best platforms, weapons and sensors to deal with any conventional and unconventional threats to India’s maritime interests.

Speaking after the launching ceremony, he said, 70 per cent of India’s trade by value and 95 per cent by volume is taking place through the sea route and even a slight disruption of seaborne trade due to piracy, terrorism or conflict, could have serious repercussions on the economic growth and well-being of the nation.

The Minister said, India is growing and its commercial interests are spreading far and beyond, yet there are challenges, including a hostile neighbourhood. “State-sponsored terrorism remains a challenge and the strong-willed Government will not hesitate to take tough decisions in the larger interest of the country. The repealing of the provisions under article 370 of the constitution is one such decision. We are confident that this will usher a new era of development and prosperity in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.”

Saying that “any credible defence of a country is based on the indigenous defence capability”, Singh emphasised on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Design and Make in India’ with regard to defence equipment.

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“Out of total 51 ships and submarines on order at various shipyards as on date, 49 are being constructed indigenously. This contributes to our target of building a five trillion dollar economy by 2025 and 70 per cent defence indigenisation by 2027”, he said.

“A vibrant shipbuilding industry can play a major role in the overall economic development of the country”, he said adding that shipbuilding is a labour intensive industry with tremendous potential for employment generation, not only in its own sector, but also in various upstream and downstream industries.

He noted that construction of one frigate itself provides direct employment to 4,800 personnel and indirect employment to around 27,000 personnel for a period of 8 years. Almost 87 of the total warship cost is invested in the Indian economy which significantly contributes to nation building.

The Minister expressed confidence that Nilgiri and the other six ships of the Project will proudly fly the Indian Flag across the oceans, showcasing India’s shipbuilding prowess and would spread India’s message of peace and strength across the globe. He appreciated the work done by the workforce of the shipyard, saying that the ship is not just metal and paint, it is a story of hard work, sweat and perseverance of the men and women involved with the project.

He also commissioned the largest dry dock of Indian Navy – The Aircraft Carrier Dock at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. He termed it as an “edifice of modern India”.

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