Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday commissioned India's largest indigenously built warship "INS Kolkata" into the Indian Navy, describing it as "a symbol of our self-reliance in the field of defence".
"INS Kolkata, entirely built in India, is a symbol of our self-reliance in the field of defence. It is a worthy example of the country's technical abilities and will send a strong message around the world," Modi said at the commissioning ceremony held at the naval base here.
"Not only are we dedicating the warship, but we are also introducing to the whole world India's technical prowess and defence capabilities," Modi asserted at the ceremony attended by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R. K. Dhowan.
Part of the Kolkata Class destroyers of the Indian Navy, INS Kolkata has been designed by the naval Design Bureau and constructed by Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), Mumbai.
The first in the series which will include INS Kochi and INS Chennai, the 6,800-tonne INS Kolkata with an operating range of 15,000 kms, was delivered to the navy last month and commissioned Saturday.
With this, no country would dare challenge India and the ship will boost the Indian Navy's capabilities, the prime minister said, calling it "a historic day for India and its people."
Modi said that his government has taken major steps to boost indigenous defence technology and it has been the country's dream to achieve self-reliance in all areas.
Now, India has the potential to export defence technology to the rest of the world, which is a matter of pride for the country, he added, lauding the contribution of Indian designers, engineers, technicians and strategists who worked to make the country's largest ever warship and strengthen the country's maritime defence capabilities.
However, the prime minister made it clear that India doesn't want a war. "But we have to be alert, prepared - INS Kolkata will ensure safety of the people of this country."
Modi recalled the contribution of Maharashtra's warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji and said he recognized the importance of "securing the seas for increasing trade and security."
Fitted with the most advanced weapons systems, including anti-submarine technology, at 163 m. X 17.4 m. width, INS Kolkata is the largest stealth destroyer constructed by the MDL.
It is an advanced version, but significantly more versatile, of the Delhi Class ships - INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai - which will add considerable punch to India's maritime warfare capabilities with the first ever all-round capability against enemy submarines, surface warships, anti-ship missiles and fighter aircraft.
Most of the weapons and sensors fitted on board are of indigenous make.
These include the state-of-the-art BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles, rocket launchers, torpedo tube launchers, sonar Humsa and AK-630 guns, giving it the capability to counter enemy threats at sea and also air attacks.
Built under the ambitious Project 15-Alpha, these significant features enable it to operate without a supporting fleet of ships making it one of the most formidable warships of this class and category anywhere in the world.
Presently, the Indian Navy has around 140 ships, with another 44 under construction at different shipyards in the country.
The ship has been named after 'The City of Joy' Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal and the biggest metropolis in east India.
The warship's crest befittingly depicts the landmark Howrah Bridge in the background and a leaping Bengal Tiger in the foreground.