Defence minister Arun Jaitley, on Saturday, commissioned two more fast patrolling vessels for the Indian Coast Guard Ships (ICGS). Prior to this, at 11.40am, the minister visited Indian Navy Ship (INS) Viraat along with Chief of Naval Staff.
After 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the government had said Coast Guard would be provided 20 fast patrol vessels. Of this, four were inducted earlier. The remaining 14 are expected to be inducted in a staggered manner by 2017.
ICGS ships Achook and Agrim, inducted on Saturday, were designed and built by M/s Cochin Shipyard Limited. Each ship costs around Rs 68 crore. The 50-meter endogenous fast patrolling vessels displace 270 tonnes and can achieve a maximum speed of 33 knots with an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles at economical speed of 13 knots. The ships have been equipped with state-of-art weaponry and advanced communication and navigational equipment," said an ICGS officer.
Speaking to media for the first time after taking charge of defence ministry, Arun Jaitley said his ministry faced two major challenges: more procurement and faster purchase of equipment. He said in order to do that red tape involved in the purchase of defence equipment should be cut. "This government is committed to national security and we feel red tape involved in purchase of defence equipment must be cut down and some mechanism set up to speed up the procurement process," said Jaitley.
He also said INS Sindhurakshak, which was brought to the surface two days ago, would soon be handed over to the Indian Navy. To a question, he said naval experts would examine the submarine and decide whether to decommission it or not.
On INS Vikrant, Jaitley said: "Following the Supreme Court order, the ship was shifted from the naval dockyard to Daroo Khana. I know that Mumbaikers want the ship to be turned into a museum. Even a few MPs from Mumbai have spoken to on the matter. However, we will have to abide by the decision of the court."