INS Ranjit, an Indian Navy destroyer built by erstwhile USSR, will be decommissioned on May 6, officials said on Friday. The third of the five Kashin-class destroyers, it was commissioned in 1983 and has rendered service to the Navy for over 36 years.
"On May 6, a glorious era of INS Ranjit, being the frontline missile destroyer of the Indian Navy, is going to end," the Navy said in a statement. The ship will be decommissioned at a solemn ceremony at the Naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
The ceremony will be attended by personnel who have served onboard the INS Ranjit in the past, and officers and sailors from the commissioning crew, it said. The chief guest for the ceremony would be Lieutenant Governor Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral (retired) Devendra Kumar Joshi.
"INS Ranjit was constructed as Yard 2203 in the 61 Communards shipyard in the town of Nikolev in present day Ukraine. The keel of the ship was laid on June 29, 1977, and she was launched on June 16, 1979," the statement said.
The ship was given its Russian name 'Lovkly', which means agile, and was commissioned as INS Ranjit on September 15, 1983, with Captain Vishnu Bhagwat at the helm, it said.
The officer went on to serve as the chief of naval staff during the period 1996 to 1998. In her maiden sortie, the destroyer traversed through the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Arabian Sea, the statement said.
The ship has the distinction of serving in both the western and eastern seaboard and has been the Flag Ship of both the western and eastern fleets.
INS Ranjit took part in PASSEX with the US Navy in 1991-92 which was a precursor to the Malabar series of exercises with the US Navy. It also took part in the first INDRA (India-Russia) exercise with the Russian Navy in 2003, according to the statement.
The ship also participated in the first ever SAREX with the PLA Navy in November 2003. The ship in 2007 took part in the first ever Malabar exercise in the Pacific Ocean as well as the first ever INDRA series of exercises in Russian waters, the statement said.
The ship was actively deployed as part of the Navy's relief operations post the 2004 tsunami and cyclone Hud-Hud in 2014. In recognition to her service to the nation, the ship was awarded the Unit citation in 2003-04 and 2009-10, the statement said.
"As the sun sets on May 6, the Naval Ensign and the commissioning pennant will be lowered for the last time onboard INS Ranjit, symbolising the end of the Ranjit era in the Indian Navy," it said.