Kolkata : As the last beat of the National Anthem was played, the pennant went up on board INS Sandhayak, marking her ceremonial Commissioning into the Indian Navy. INS Sandhayak, the largest Survey ship to have ever been built in India, was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Visakhapatnam dockyard on Saturday, February 3, 2024. The Chief Guest at the Commissioning ceremony was Hon'ble Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh. Also present at the occasion were Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy, Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, FOC-in-C, Eastern Naval Command, Cmde PR Hari, IN (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, GRSE, and senior officials from the GRSE & Indian Navy.
INS Sandhayak is the first in a series of four Survey Vessels (Large) that GRSE was tasked to build. Despite severe challenges during the pandemic years, GRSE completed the ship and handed her over to the Navy in December 2023. INS Sandhayak is a reincarnation of another survey vessel of the same name that GRSE had built and delivered to the Navy in 1981. That ship was decommissioned in 2021 after 40 years in active service. The word ‘Sandhayak’ stands for someone who carries out a special search.
Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh, mentioned that the commissioning of INS “Sandhayak” is a significant occasion in Indian maritime history. He emphasized that today’s commissioning demonstrates the foresightedness of the Indian Navy and the untiring efforts of GRSE’s workforce. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri also stated that the inclusion of INS ‘Sandhayak’ in the Indian Navy will undoubtedly contribute to maintaining peace and security, and it will play a crucial role in establishing India as a major power in the Indo-Pacific region.
Hon’ble Defence Minister drew parallels between the transformation of a dependent child into a responsible adult and the development of a nation into a self-reliant military power. “Just as in the case of a child, a country in its nascent stage of development has to rely upon others to meet her security needs. Gradually, as a nation develops, she builds her own capabilities to ensure security. The reliance on other countries comes down gradually. Finally, a country becomes powerful enough, not only to protect her own security interests but to ensure security for others in the region,” he said in his address.
The Chief of the Naval Staff emphasized that the Navy is committed to be an Atmanirbhar force by 2047 and in this journey of a Vikshit Bharat, GRSE will remain a partner for the Navy as the shipyard has significantly grown over the years and has a strong background of building complex warship.
Cmde P R Hari stated that the ship was a reincarnation of the 1981 GRSE-built Sandhayak, the 1st Indigenous Survey Vessel. He shared that the construction of the ship was underway during the Covid pandemic and in spite of several challenges including the cascading effects of the supply chain, GRSE delivered the ship to the Indian Navy on “Navy Day” this year.
The event ended on a high note with both the Navy and GRSE reconfirming their partnership of over 60 years since India's first indigenously-built warship, the INS Ajay, was delivered by GRSE in 1961.