KARWAR: After decommissioning INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier, the Indian Navy has decided to hand it over to the Andhra Pradesh government. However, Karnataka had earlier shown keen interest on getting INS Viraat to the coast in Karwar or Mangaluru for promotion of tourism.
It was planned that INS Viraat would be brought to either Karwar or Mangaluru. Karwar already houses a naval base and it is close to Goa and Maharashtra.
If not Karwar, Mangaluru was said to be the ideal place as the city has an international airport. The Navy had asked the coastal states, including Karnataka about giving a berth to Viraat. Many states had sent proposals to the Ministry of Defence. After receiving several proposals, the Navy decided to give the ship to AP.
Recently after agreeing to hand over the ship to AP, the Navy said the ship will be decommissioned and she is likely to be brought to Vizag by the middle of 2017. It is said Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, who hails from AP, played a vital role to bring her to Vizag. Nivedith Alva, the former chairman of Karavali Abhivruddi Pradhikara, said, “It is a great loss to state tourism. We had written letters to the CM saying that we will provide land and the required infrastructure.”
The ‘Grand Old Lady’
- INS Viraat is the oldest aircraft carrier in the world. It was built in 1959 and served in Royal Navy (British Navy) for many years.
- It was commissioned by Indian Navy in 1987. She can carry 16 jet fighters and 10 big copters.
- It is said it will take six months to take out weapons and equipment out of the ship.