The Invincible, INS Vikrant
After lots of missed occasions, I finally bought my new bike, Bajaj V15. The fact that it is created with scraps of one of the legendary vessels of Indian Navy, INS Vikrant, the invincible aircraft carrier. Ever since her fate of scrapping was sealed by the Honorable Supreme Court, every proud Indian was sad somewhere within. INS Vikrant had played very vital role in Indo – Pak war of 1971. She was deployed in under the command of Eastern Fleet of Indian Navy to counter any possible advances by Pakistan in and around eastern region of India.
INS Vikrant missed all the action during earlier wars on the western front as she was docked in her mother port for maintenance. Even when the war clouds were gathering on the horizon, she was not battle ready. But with the resolve of making her battle ready, all guys worked hard and many trials were conducted during her voyage to eastern ports. Moral of aircrew was boosted with the conditional clearance from Naval HQ. As expected Pakistan has deployed their best counter vessel, submarine PNS Ghazi. But with some uncertain events, PNS Ghazi met her fate near Port of Vishakhapattanam, possibly with depth charges laid by INS Rajput or by crash dive forced by Rajput’s appearance.
As war broke out, INS Vikrant was deployed back in action with a target of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar harbors. Aircrafts from the carrier made numerous sorties and struck those docks sinking and destroying most of the ships and created a blockade around the ports leaving them unusable for months. In the later phase of war, aircrafts from Vikrant also targeted the cantonment area of Chittagong destroying several army barracks.
The crew of INS Vikrant exhibited bravery and gallantry in the war which earned them two Mahaveer Chakra and twelve Vir Chakra medals for their part of war. She continued to serve in later years after undergoing two major modernization refits. In January 1995, she was laid up and then formally decommissioned in 1997. Indian Navy converted it into a museum. Later in 2012, her condition was deemed as unsafe for public and museum was closed.
In 2013, the fate of INS Vikrant was sealed by the Ministry of Defence and the scrapping auctions were declared. During 2013 – 14, legal petitions were filed to avoid her fate of getting scrapped. But as if it was her fate, even Honourable Supreme Court gave nod to the scrapping. Memorial was constructed with the scrap metal of the vessel in Naval dockyard of Mumbai. Later in 2016, Bajaj unveiled their motorcycle crafted from scraps of INS Vikrant. Since then it was my dream to buy one of the bikes and be a proud owner of “The Invincible”.
Every time, I ride my bike, the insignia of INS Vikrant on the petrol tank of the bike makes me feel proud of my armed forces and especially Indian Navy for their great service to our country. I salute to all the brave officers serving our country for their courage, gallantry, and chivalry. Jay Hind!!!