Mumbai, April 06: On a day when the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in India celebrated its 35th Formation Day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was hogging all the limelight at the high-security Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.
It was a historic day for the Indian Navy, when the Indian Navy's first Scorpene-class stealth submarines, was ‘floated out' or ‘undocked. [Read: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar witnesses float-out ceremony of Scorpene sub]
The submarine is being built under the Project 75, in collaboration with DCNS, France. Later while addressing the MDL staff, Parrikar asked them to strive towards making the yard a globally renowned one.
"MDL must play a critical role in Indian Navy's goal of becoming a true Blue Water Navy. The Project 75 which has already seen a delay of almost 40 months has now been brought on track and the delivery schedules for the successive submarines have been reduced," the minister said.
Touching upon the P75(I) Project, Parrikar said that private players can also be invited for joint venture which would help early fruition of the project.
Rewards for early completion of project
He said that if the project is not completed in the stipulated time, the defaulting yard would have to pay penalty.
"An early completion would be rewarded with a bonus. MDL should take a lead in the skill development of local unemployed youth," he added.
Navy says once commissioned into its ranks in 2016, the submarine Kalvari, would lend an enormous fillip to its underwater capability. MDL will have to deliver the remaining 5 submarines by 2020. Navy says these would form the core of its submarine arm for the next two decades.
"The Scorpene submarines would pack a potent punch. She would be equipped with anti-ship missiles and long range guided torpedoes along with modern sensor suite," says a navy Spokesperson.
MDL today is at the forefront of warship construction with the P 15 B class destroyers and P17-A class stealth frigates being the latest.
As the exclusive public sector shipyard manufacturing submarines in the country, Project 75 marks a critical milestone in the Yard's continued relevance as a defence public sector undertaking constructing submarines.
Parrikar visits WNC HQ
Later in the day, Parrikar, visited Western Naval Command (WNC) Headquarters accompanied by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan.
Navy officials said that the minister was apprised about the operational responsibilities of the command and challenges faced by the Indian Navy in its area of responsibility.
"The minister was also apprised about the operational readiness of the command, morale and welfare issues," navy Spokesperson said.
The minister visited INS Sindhukesari to get a first-hand experience of an operational submarine.
"He was briefed on the operating environment in submarines and also interacted with the crew members of the submarine," the Spokesperson added.