(This was originally posted in Times Of India by Newton Sequeira)
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Mukund Naravane visited Goa Shipyard Limited on Saturday to review the construction of the 12 fast patrol vessels that are being procured to patrol large water bodies in high altitude areas like Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh.
General Naravane was briefed on the construction methodology of the composite vessels at GSL’s glass-reinforced plastic facility. The Army chief was also briefed on the capabilities of the platform onboard the first prototype vessel that was recently launched, said GSL chairman and managing director BB Nagpal. The need for these new high-speed boats to patrol the Pangong Tso lake was felt in the wake of the military clashes between the Indian and the Chinese troops, leading to a tense situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The army chief is in Goa as part of an official visit to the Indian Army’s southern army command. General Naravane reviewed the various other projects being executed at the shipyard and undertook a short sea sortie in the in-house designed fast interceptor craft built by GSL. The Indian Army signed a Rs 65 crore contract with GSL for construction of 12 Fast Patrol Boats under emergency procurement.
These boats will be deployed for surveillance and patrol in water bodies including high altitude areas.
The 12 fibreglass boats being built by GSL will be fitted with machine-guns and surveillance gear including optical sensors. The Army’s engineer in chief Lt General Harpal Singh has reviewed the construction of the boats, initial trials and pace of construction in June. Nagpal apprised the Army chief of the various infrastructure modernization activities that have been completed and which are in progress.