After 41 years of service, the first destroyer of the Indian Navy, INS Rajput, will be decommissioned on Friday. The Kashin-class destroyer, built by the erstwhile USSR, was commissioned on May 4, 1980.
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 will now be decommissioned at a solemn ceremony at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam. In her glorious 41 years, the ship had 31 Commanding Officers at her helm," Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said. 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 IK Gujral, the then Indian Ambassador to the USSR, with Captain Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani as her first commanding officer. "Over her four decades of glorious service to the nation, the ship has the distinction of serving in both Western and Eastern Fleets," Commander Madhwal said.
"With the motto 'Raj Karega Rajput' firmly etched in their minds and indomitable spirit, the gallant crew of INS Rajput have remained ever vigilant and always 'on call' to protect the maritime interest and sovereignty of the nation," he added.