March 21, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Joining an elite club of nations with access to nuclear missile tracking vessels, the Indian Navy secretly commissioned the highly secretive Ocean Surveillance Ship, bestowing it with the code name VC-1118.
Reports suggest that this move will boost India’s ballistic missile defence system as well as systematically improve ways of increasing its electronic warfare capabilities. The vessel has been under construction since 2014 and was commissioned in October 2019 without any public ceremony, according to The Economic Times.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic delayed the commissioning process by a few months, but the vessel passed all its trials before being put into service.
To realise the strategic importance of the move, one has to understand that India is only the fifth country in the world – after the US, France, China, and Russia – to operate such a vessel, which will prove to be a great tool for monitoring the developmental trial of its domestic missile programme.
But its main use will be to act as an ‘early warning’ ship for incoming missile launches on the country, increasing the effectiveness of the ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield already in possession with the Indian army. Such a tool will prove to be handy in the long run, since both of India’s immediate neighbours – Pakistan and China – are armed to the teeth with nuclear warheads.
Hindustan Shipyard Limited, where the construction of the vessel took place, was founded in 1941, by Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd. Recognising its strategic importance, the shipyard was transferred from the Ministry of Shipping to the Ministry of Defence in February 2010.