INS Rajput, the first destroyer of the Indian Navy, will be decommissioned today after over 41 years of service. The lead ship of the Kashin-class destroyers built by the erstwhile USSR, the destroyer was commissioned on May 4, 1980.
Due to the prevailing Covid situation, the decommissioning ceremony at the Visakhapatnam Naval Dockyard will be a low-key event attended only by in-station officers and sailors.
INS Rajput was constructed in the 61 Communards Shipyard in Nikolaev (present-day 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 on May 4, 1980 at Poti, Georgia by I K Gujral, the then Ambassador of India to 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.
The ship had the motto “Raj Karega Rajput’’, and participated in several operations aimed at keeping the nation secure. Some of these include Operation Aman off Sri Lanka to assist IPKF, Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka, Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation off the Maldives, and Operation Crowsnest off Lakshadweep. In addition, the ship participated in numerous bilateral and multinational exercises.
The ship was also the first Indian Naval Ship to be affiliated with an Indian Army regiment — the Rajput Regiment.