Navy chief, Admiral Hari Kumar with officers with the INS Imphal’s crest. (Photo: Srinjoy Chowdhury)
New Delhi: INS Imphal, the Indian Navy’s guided missile destroyer, with stealth capabilities, is ready. It’s commissioning next month will strengthen the fleet just as presence of Chinese ships of all kinds is increasing in the Indian Ocean region.
Apart from naval vessels of the PLA (Navy) and the “spy ships” or research vessels like the Shi Yan 6 that was in the IOR recently, there were 182 Chinese fishing vessels in the IOR in early November. The Chang Dao, a submarine recovery vessel of the PLA, was spotted recently. And if submarine recovery vessels are around, can submarines be far away?
The Imphal has reached the Navy relatively quickly. The steel-cutting (or, the first step) was in 2006. The keel was laid in 2017 and the President of India approved the name “Imphal” in 2019. It was delivered last month and the test firing of the BrahMos missile, which has a range of 300 km is complete.
Importantly, it is overwhelmingly indigenous in content, and very much in line with the Indian policy of atmanirbharata or self reliance. A sister ship is ready: it’s the INS Surat. Also, 65 ships and submarines are under construction in Indian yards and the bids by German and Spanish submarine manufacturers, in collaboration with Indian partners are in and are being “processed.”
The INS Imphal’s crest keeps in mind Manipuri traditions. On it is a dragon with the body of a lion.