After 32 years in service, INS Nishank, INS Akshay decommissioned
INS Akshay and INS Nishank

Mumbai: The Indian Navy on Friday decommissioned its two ships, INS Akshay and INS Nishank, after 32 years of service including participation in Operation Talwar and Operation Parakram.

The decommissioning event was conducted at Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard in a traditional ceremony wherein the national flag, the naval ensign and the decommissioning pennant of the two ships were lowered for the last time at sunset.

While INS Nishank, a high speed missile craft, was commissioned on September 12, 1989, INS Akshay was commissioned a year later on December 10, 1990 at Poti, Georgia.

INS Nishank and INS Akshay were part of the 22 Missile Vessel Squadron and 23 Patrol Vessel Squadron, respectively, under the operational control of Flag Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Naval Area.

The ships were in active naval service for more than 32 years and during their illustrious journeys, participated in several naval operations, including Op Talwar during the Kargil War and Op Parakram in 2001, the Navy said.

INS Nishank was also deployed post the Uri attacks when tensions between India and Pakistan were high.

Several officers who either commanded the ships or were deployed on them were part of the decommissioning ceremony.

Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, who commanded INS Nishank from 1995-96, also took part in the event.

Also in attendance was M. Gopinath, who took over the command of INS Akhsay in May 1996. In a rare coincidence, Gopinath’s father MG Nair had commanded the ship in its erstwhile avatar from 1966-68.

I saw my father as a naval officer coming on board INS Akshay. My aspirations came true and I became a naval officer and was very privileged to command the ship, Gopinath said.

Recalling an incident, he said while firing torpedoes during a practice, one torpedo got lost and the way the crew acted during its recovery was remarkable.

Vice Admiral (retd) SPS Cheema, who was the first commanding officer of INS Nishank, said the ship was always deployed to protect the country’s maritime borders.

Last week, the Navy decommissioned INS Gomti after 34 years in service.

As per naval traditions, a ship never dies, and, therefore, whenever a ship is decommissioned, a new ship is commissioned with the same name.

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