The Indian Navy's Kashin-class destroyer INS Rajput, the first warship to be fitted with long-range BrahMos missile, was decommissioned on Friday after 41 years of service. The destroyer, built by the erstwhile USSR and commissioned on May 4, 1980, had the distinction of being part of both the Western and Eastern fleets.
Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said the warship was decommissioned in a low key event at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam. "In her glorious service to the nation, the ship has been helmed by 31 commanding officers. The ship, since its commissioning, sailed a distance of over 7,87,194 nautical miles which is equivalent to navigating around the world 36.5 times and 3.8 times the distance from Earth to Moon," he said in a statement.
Besides BrahMos, the warship was equipped with an array of weapons and sensors including anti-aircraft guns, torpedoes, and anti-submarine rocket launchers. The ship participated in several key missions in the last four decades, including operation Aman off Sri Lanka that was launched to assist the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) and Operation Cactus to resolve a hostage situation off the Maldives.
In addition, the ship participated in numerous bilateral and multi-national exercises. It was also the first Indian Naval Ship to be affiliated with an Army regiment — the Rajput regiment. INS Rajput was constructed in the 61 Communards shipyard in Nikolaev (now Ukraine) under her original Russian name "Nadezhny", meaning "hope". The keel of the ship was laid on September 11, 1976, and she was launched on September 17, 1977.
The ship was commissioned as INS Rajput at Poti, Georgia by I K Gujral, the then Indian Ambassador to the USSR, with Captain Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani as her first commanding officer. "The ship was decommissioned in a solemn and low key event due to the coronavirus pandemic when the national flag, naval ensign, and the decommissioning pennant were lowered at sunset time in the presence of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, the flag officer commanding-in-chief eastern naval command," Commander Madhwal said.