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INS Rajput decommissioned after 41 years

First of the Indian Navy’s modern destroyers was built in former USSR

INS Rajput, the first of the modern destroyers of the Indian Navy, built by the erstwhile USSR, was decommissioned on Friday at Naval Dockyard at Visakhapatnam after 41 years of service.

At sunset, the Naval ensign and the commissioning pennant were hauled down for the last time onboard INS Rajput, symbolising the decommissioning, the Navy said in a statement. Due to the COVID situation, the ceremony was a low-key event attended only by in-station officers and sailors in accordance with strict observance of pandemic protocols, it stated.

INS Rajput was constructed in the 61 Communards Shipyard in Nikolaev, present-day Ukraine, under her original Russian name Nadezhny meaning ‘Hope’. The keel of the ship was laid on September 11, 1976, and was launched into water on September 17, 1977. The ship was commissioned as INS Rajput on May 4, 1980 at Poti, Georgia by I.K. Gujral, then Ambassador of India to the USSR with Capt. Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani as her first Commanding Officer.

In 41 years, the ship has had 31 Commanding Officers at her helm, with the last CO taking charge of the ship on August 14, 2019.

The Indian Navy inducted its first destroyer in 1949 with the three R class ships followed by the Hunt class of ships, both from the UK. Both these classes were decommissioned from service in the 1970s.

With the motto “Raj Karega Rajput”, INS Rajput has participated in several important Naval operations over the years. Some of these include Operation Aman off Sri Lanka to assist the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka, Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation off the Maldives and Operation Crowsnest off Lakshadweep.

The ship was also the first Indian Naval Ship to be affiliated with an Indian Army regiment, the Rajput Regiment. INS Rajput was also the first ship in the Navy to get the first version of the BrahMos antiship supersonic cruise missile in 2005.

The Rajput class was followed by the Delhi class of destroyers, the first indigenously designed and built destroyers and inducted into service in the early 1990s and early 2000s. This was followed by three Kolkata class destroyers built under Project 15 and the under construction Vishakhapatnam class of stealth destroyers under Project 15B.

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