Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday commissioned INS Kolkata, India's largest indigenously built warship, at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
It is an advanced version, but significantly more versatile, of the Delhi-Class ships – INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai – which will add considerable teeth to India's maritime warfare capabilities with all-round capabilities against enemy submarines, surface warships, anti-ship missiles and fighter aircraft.
Defence minister Arun Jaitley and chief of naval staff Admiral RK Dhowan were also present during the ceremony.
"INS Kolkata is entirely built in India and it is a symbol of self-reliance," said Modi while addressing the sailors at the commissioning ceremony.
PM lauds Navy, dedicates INS Kolkata to nation
Terming military might as the biggest deterrent to war, Modi said the defence forces will be modernised to ensure that "nobody casts an evil eye" on the nation.
"Fighting a war and winning it has now become less difficult these days. But a modern military, armed with state of the arm weaponry alone is a guarantee against war. When we are capable, no one can dare challenge us," Modi said addressing a gathering after dedicating the largest indigenously built warship INS Kolkata to the nation.
"When people have a sense of our military capability, nobody will ever dare to cast an evil eye on our nation," he said.
Stressing the importance of maritime security in fast expanding global trade and commerce, the Prime Minister said India, with its vast coastline, was playing a major role in it.
"In the coming days, INS Kolkata will inspire confidence to those involved in maritime trade," he said.
Describing the building of the destroyer ship as a big achievement by India's technicians, engineers and defence experts, Modi said the government was committed to modernising the defence forces so "our jawans don't feel they are lagging behind in defending our nation.
"When I dedicate INS Kolkata to the nation, I am confident it will boost our military prowess and give confidence to our soldiers."
The warship, constructed by the Mazagon Dockyards Limited, has been designed by Navy's design bureau. The 6,800 tonne warship is a technology demonstrator and will showcase a giant leap in shipbuilding technology in the country.
The Prime Minister had dedicated India's largest warship INS Vikramaditya to the nation in June in his first outing after taking charge.
Modi said that the government has taken important decisions in its budget and has given priority to "defence upgrade".
Referring to the decision of allowing 49% FDI in defence, Modi said, "We have to import (military hardware)... Because of this one decision, India can become self-reliant in this sector.
Our youth will become innovative and a day will come when India will export in this sector."
Defence minister Jaitley said the commissioning of INS Kolkata gives an impetus to the Indian Navy.
"I hope this ship will enhance our navy's capacity," said Jaitley.
Constructed by the Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), the 6,800-tonne Kolkata-class stealth destroyer has been designed by the Indian Navy's design bureau.
Its keel was laid down in September 2003 and the ship was launched in March 2006. It is the first of three such ships planned in this class - the other two being Kochi and Chennai.
Fitted with the most advanced weapons systems, including anti-submarine technology, this is the largest stealth destroyer constructed by the MDL and delivered to Indian Navy last month.
Built under the ambitious Project 15-Alpha, this would be one of the most formidable warships of this class and category anywhere in the world.
Its other prominent features include length of 163 m and width of 17.4 m, with a displacement of 7,500 tonnes and two helicopters on board.
Most of the weapons and sensors fitted on board are of indigenous make.
These include the state-of-the-art BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles, rocket launchers, torpedo tube launchers, sonar Humsa, EWS Ellora and AK-630 guns, giving it a defence capability to counter threats of enemy sea and air attacks.
The ship has been named after The City of Joy Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal and the biggest metropolis in east India.
The warship's crest befittingly depicts the landmark Howrah Bridge in the background and a leaping Bengal Tiger in the foreground, both symbolic of the country's cultural capital Kolkata.
This is Modi's second visit to Maharashtra in two months. Last month he visited the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)