Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Priyanka Chaturvedi, in a letter to the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, urged to help make INS Viraat a memorial and not allow it to be just a memory by allowing its dismemberment at Alang, Gujarat. “A no objection certificate from the ministry of defence (MoD) will ensure this can be done, however, the same is not forthcoming. I have urged the defence minister to let INS Viraat be a living, breathing and thriving memorial of India’s nationalism, patriotism and pride. We owe this responsibility to our children. Let us be preservers than destroyers of our rich history,” she said.
Chaturvedi said INS Viraat, the flagship of the Indian Navy till 2013, has served the nation for almost 30 years. “INS Viraat is a historic ship that has spanned the history of naval architecture from World War II and also served as the foundation of Indian naval power. INS Viraat proved pivotal in Operation Jupiter and was deployed during Operation Parakram following the terror attack on the Indian Parliament, we commemorated the incident just yesterday, December 13,’’ she added.
“The ship’s motto is “Jalmev Yashya, Balamev Tasya,’’ meaning ‘who controls the sea is the powerful.’ But today, it has been made powerless and is being broken down and dismembered to be sold as scrap rather than being preserved as a memorial of India’s maritime history,’’ said Chaturvedi. She suggested that, as a nation, the decommissioned naval ships be used to help citizens to better understand the significance of India’s history. “It saddens me further to note that though there is an offer to convert the warship into a maritime museum, it awaits a no objection certificate from the MoD for the transfer of the warship,” she viewed.
“It would be a crying shame if we let go of our history without giving the benefit of knowledge to our future generation. INS Viraat’s preservation is well merited and deserving of strong consideration by the government. It can be saved, if the Government of India desires,” said Chatirvedi. She added the Maharashtra government would be happy to co-operate in restoring and preserving the historical ship.