The country’s second submarine museum is slated to come up at Digha in West Bengal, Indian Navy officials announced in Kolkata on Friday, ahead of Navy Day Celebrations across the country on December 4.
Navy Day is celebrated to commemorate Operation Trident on the intervening night of December 3-4 in 1971 when Indian Navy missile boats attacked Karachi harbour, destroying warships and onshore installations that crippled Pakistan Navy’s efforts to participate in the decisive war that followed, resulting in the liberation of Bangladesh.
“We have already set up an aircraft museum at New Town-Rajarhat in Kolkata in association with the Government of West Bengal. We have installed a Tupolev TU-142M long range maritime surveillance and attack aircraft there for residents of Kolkata to get a better understanding of how the Indian Navy functions. Now, we will be setting up a submarine museum at Digha in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal. Digha is a major tourist attraction and the museum there will add value to the seaside township,” a senior Navy official said on Friday.
Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh has the only submarine museum in the country. The INS Kursura, a decommissioned diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy, is placed at a strategic location close to the R.K. Beach and draws huge crowds. Most of those who travel to Visakhapatnam as tourists are from West Bengal and the submarine museum is a must-see for them.
“We have already earmarked a decommissioned Kilo- class submarine for the museum at Digha. We believe that this will be a major tourist attraction. It will also encourage the youth to consider the Indian Navy as a career. We are already visiting schools and colleges across Kolkata to encourage students to join the Indian Navy that offers career options even to those from technical backgrounds,” the official added.
On Friday, Commodore Rituraj Sahu, Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal, briefed the media in Kolkata on the Indian Navy’s activities in the region.
He highlighted how West Bengal has two Fast Interceptor Crafts (FICs) now that operate from Kolkata to the Sagar Island anchorage to provide protection to shipping interests. Two more FICs will arrive soon to bolster the Navy’s muscle at INS Netaji Subhas — Kolkata’s naval office.
INS Netaji Subhas, that played a key role in 1971, when the missile boats that struck Karachi harbour arrived at the Kolkata port, is also getting upgraded.
It has also taken some additional land from Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in the city near Dahi Ghat.
While dredging the river there, the Navy recovered five British-era cannons.
These date back to the 1800’s when a shipbuilding unit was located in that area. Two of these cannons have been set up at INS Netaji Subhas. The remaining will also be displayed in times to come.