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Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant sold to ship-breaker for only Rs 60 Crore

Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant has been sold for mere Rs 60 Crore via an online auction to an Alang ship-breaker. The decommissioned aircraft carrier played an crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

The carrier was sold via an online auction to a ship-breaker following the dismissal a PIL (Public-Interest Litigation) filed by Kiran Paigankar (founder of the “Save Vikrant Committee”) by the Bombay High Court. The Court dismissed the PIL stating that the carrier’s tatterdemalion condition did not justify her conservation, also the requisite funds or government support are also not available.

Timeline: INS Vikrant

Under United Kingdom:

  • Named: “HMS Hercules”; Builder: Vickers-Armstrong/Harland and Wolff; Never commissioned
  • 1943: Laid down on November 12, 1943
  • 1945: Launched on September 22, 1945
  • 1957: Sold to India

Under India:

  • 1961: Commissioned on March 4, 1961
  • 1971: Played a crucial role in imposing the naval encirclement on East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
  • 1997: Decommissioned on January 31,1997
  • Preserved as a museum ship in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai. But there was a lack of funding for its proper preservation. INS Vikrant was the only World War II-era British-built aircraft carrier to be preserved as a museum.
  • 2010: Maharashtra government had conveyed its unfitness to maintain Vikrant
  • 2012: Museum was closed after Vikrant was viewed as unsafe.
  • 2013: On December 3, 2013, the Indian government adjudicated to auction the ship, due to its upkeep difficulties.

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Admiral R.K. Dhowan appointed new Navy chief

Almost two months after Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned in February owning moral responsibility for a series of accidents, Robin K. Dhowan (59) took over as the new Chief of the Indian Navy. Admiral Dhowan who has been the acting Navy chief since Joshi’s departure, has now been appointed the Chief of Navy Staff. Admiral Dhawan’s tenure will last 25 months and he will retire in May 2016.

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MoD got EC nod for appointment of new Navy chief

The Election Commission gave its nod to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) for the appointment of the new Navy chief. The permission was sought by the MoD in view of the Model Code of Conduct in force for the Lok Sabha elections.

Selection process of Indian Naval Chief: The Defense Ministry shortlists a list of at least three candidates. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister will select the most suitable person. Other members of the ACC: Defense Minister and Minister of Department of Personnel.

Note: The Indian Naval Chief Admiral DK Joshi’s tenure would have normally ended in 2015, but he resigned in the wake of submarine INS Sindhuratna accident on February, 2014. Vice Admiral RK Dhowan took over as the Acting Chief till regular Naval Chief is appointed.

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