On May 9, 2017, two minesweepers of Indian Navy – INS Karwar and INS Kakinada, were decommissioned at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai in presence of Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba.
- Both these ships were commissioned in year 1986. During their tenure, they have undertaken several minesweeping missions using the older mechanical sweeps as well as the latest side-scan sonars.
What are Minesweepers?
Minesweeper ships are used by naval forces across the world to secure the harbours by locating and destroying mines. Minesweepers are large and heavily armed ships. Besides undertaking minesweeping missions, they also serve as anti-submarine warfare escort.
About INS Karwar:
INS Karwar (Identification – M67) was acquired from the erstwhile USSR.
- It was commissioned in the Indian Navy on July 14, 1986 at Riga, (now in Latvia).
- Till 2013, it operated from Vishakhapatnam, after which it was based at Mumbai.
About INS Kakinada:
INS Kakinada (Identification – M70) was also acquired from erstwhile USSR and was commissioned at Riga on December 23, 1986.
- Similar to INS Karwar, INS Kakinada also operated from Vishakhapatnam till 2013 and thereafter shifted its base to Mumbai.
Minesweepers in Indian Navy:
With the decommissioning of the INS Karwar and INS Kakinada, the India Navy now has a fleet of only four Soviet-origin minesweeping ships. These four ships are INS Cannanore, INS Cuddalore, INS Kozhikode and INS Konkan. These ships too will be decommissioned by the end of year 2018.
- A parliamentary standing committee on defense has asked the Govt. to make efforts to fill the gap in the Navy’s capability at the earliest.
- Indian Govt. has plans to replace them with 12 new Mine Counter-measure Vessels (MCMV) which will be built by Goa Shipyard Ltd.in collaboration with Busan-based (South Korea) Kangnam Corporation under the Make in India