Ever seen a sleek white shape nearly skim over the waters of the Hooghly? It’s one of two fast motor boats of the Indian Navy keeping a lookout for any suspicious activity close to the city. Apart from two of these 9.2-metre long boats, the INS Netaji Subhas also has a couple of two Fast Interceptor Crafts (FICs), two large work boats and RHIBs that are also known as Geminis. The naval office in Kolkata that will be celebrating its 45th anniversary as INS Netaji Subhas on Friday has not only been engaged in maintaining security along the West Bengal coastline but several other activities such as encouraging youth from the state to take up the Navy as a career.
The naval presence in the port city of erstwhile Calcutta began prior to World War II, with a small HMI Naval Office under the control of a Shipping Officer, in the Marine House. From Marine House in 1940 to a more conspicuous HMIS Hooghly in 1943 to INS Hooghly post-independence grew the Naval footprint in the East. With INS Hoogly being rechristened INS Netaji Subhas on July 5 July 1974, the base witnessed a gradual metamorphosis with the growing importance of the eastern seaboard with regards to trade, security and diplomacy.
“The vast coastline of West Bengal, including the eco-sensitive Sunderbans, in conjunction with recent inputs of anti-national elements acquiring maritime capability, poses a serious challenge to security which needs concerted efforts from all concerned agencies.
Navy being the lead agency in maritime security including coastal security has ensured that adequate focus and efforts are in place to meet any challenges. There exists full cooperation from all other stakeholders towards an efficient and effective coastal security construct.
The state government has been very supportive and focused towards ensuring timely implementation of various directives and decisions taken during annual Apex Committee Review Meeting on Coastal Security. One such meeting was held on April 5, 2019,” Cdre Suprobho K De, naval officer-in-charge, West Bengal, said.
INS Netaji Subhas is the ‘Base Support Ship’ for all outlaying naval units and assists in progressive build-up for their administration and logistics infrastructure. It also renders all possible support to under construction Indian Navy ships at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers and those undergoing refits and repairs there. The unit is making significant progress with regard to infrastructure including construction of Wet Basin with much needed river front, a G+5 building having 112 single sailor’s accommodation, MT Pool and NOIC Office, a new naval officer’s, a multi-storied building for sailors married accommodation and the SSB at Diamond Harbour that was inaugurated recently.
Source: Times of India