For the first time in the annals of India’s maritime history, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today commissioned an Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship and two interceptor boats at Goa at a unique ceremony held via video conferencing in view of the coronavirus crisis.

Ship Sachet and interceptors boats C-450 and C-451 are indigenously designed and built in a record time as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ”Make in India” vision.

Speaking on the occasion, the defence minister said the commissioning of these vessels was an “important milestone” in India’s coastal capability building process. “It is reassuring to witness the growing strength of our Coast Guard and the capabilities of Indian shipbuilding industry,” he added.

He said it was a matter of great satisfaction that despite this difficult phase of the current pandemic and global challenges, the ICG with determination and commitment has protected the country’s maritime borders day and night.

Singh said the seas could be routes for asymmetric threats by anti-national elements and, therefore, demanded a collaborative and cooperative approach amongst all stakeholders. “I am extremely confident that the ICG ships commissioned today will add to its strength in responding to the threats of maritime terrorism, drug trafficking, smuggling and challenges of maritime law enforcement and provide search and rescue cover to mariners in distress,” he said.

”I am extremely confident that the ships commissioned today will add to the ICG strength in responding to the threats of maritime terrorism, drug trafficking, smuggling and challenges of maritime law enforcement and search and rescue cover to mariners in distress,” Singh said.

Noting that the oceans were the lifelines of global prosperity, he said safe, secure and clean seas presented great economic opportunities to build nations. India was an emerging maritime power and its prosperity depend on the sea.

As a responsible maritime power, oceans have been India’s key priorities, which was evident from the Prime Minister’s vision “SAGAR”, which translates into “Security And Growth for All in the Region”, the minister said.

Ship Sachet, he first in the series of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), has been designed and built by Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery.

Interceptor boats C-450 and C- 451 have been built by L&T Shipyard, Hazira (Gujarat) and are fitted with latest navigation and Communication equipment. The two 30 metre boats are capable of achieving speeds in excess of 45 knots and designed for the high-speed interception, close coast patrol and low-intensity maritime operations.