India’s first indigenous missile frigate decommissioned

Mumbai, Dec 23 (IANS) India’s first indigenously-built guided missile frigate INS Godavari was decommissioned from service after 32 years, at a solemn sundown ceremony here on Wednesday.

For the last time, Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Command, hauled down its ensign in the presence of a large gathering that included the ship’s former commanders and crew and senior officials.

The ship was the first to be completely designed by the Indian Navy’s Design Directorate and Mazagaon Docks Ltd, where it was also fully constructed, marking a significant milestone for the country, transiting it from a ‘buyers navy’ to a ‘builders navy’.

Commissioned on December 10, 1983, INS Godavari had a glorious, action-packed service and proved the success and effectiveness of Indian designers and ship-builders, an official said.

“Being the first to be designed and made in India, lessons learnt during her construction and operations have helped the nation’s shipyards and designers in refining subsequent indigenous warships.

“Today, Kolkata-class destroyers built in the country are among the best destroyers in the world,” the official said.

Among the highlights of INS Godavari’s services were participating on many occasions in ‘Operation Cactus’, with the Maldives coup attempt of 1988 being a major one.

The ship also took part in ‘Operation Jupiter’ off Sri Lanka in 1989, operations ‘Bolster’ and ‘Shield’ involving de-induction of the Indian Army from Somalia in 1994 and in recent years, joining the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden region in 2009-2011.

At the time of decommissioning, INS Godavari was led by Commander Vishal Rawal, who had launched his naval career as a Midshipman on the same ship.

The ship was the first of the ‘Godavari Class’ guided missile frigates with her sisters, INS Ganga and INS Gomati continuing in active service.

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