The missile-guided destroyer INS Kochi, packed with weapons and sensors and advanced stealth features, will be commissioned on 30 September.
Destroyers are second to aircraft carriers in jutting out raw combat power on high seas. Introduction of 7,500-tonne INS Kochi, the second of three Kolkata-class destroyers being built at Mazagaon Docks at Mumbai for more than Rs 4,000 crore per destroyer, will make it the 10th destroyer in combat fleet of the country.
The first of this class, INS Kolkata, was commissioned in August last year, while the third INS Chennai will be inducted towards 2016-end. There is the ongoing Rs 29,644-crore project to build four more stealth destroyers at MDL, with the first INS Visakhapatnam slated for delivery in 2018-2019.
No wonder the Navy is excited. “INS Kochi will add more teeth to the Navy in discharging its duty of safe-guarding maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It reaffirms our resolve and faith in indigenous ship-building and the Make in India programme,” said Admiral Robin Dhowan on 28 September.
The Navy, on its part, plans to become a 200-warship force with around 600 aircraft and choppers by 2027 to ensure it can guard the country’s expanding geo-strategic interests in the backdrop of the IOR emerging as “the world’s centre of gravity”.
The IOR has over 120 warships at any given time, with China fast becoming a force to reckon with, within the region.