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Indian Navy Ship Names

By 1948 a general policy was formulated for naming ships and craft that were being acquired. According to this policy the names to be chosen were, as a rule, to be of Indian origin and the choice of names was to be based on three considerations - functional, historical and geographical. The functional names would express the function of the ship in naval warfare, the historical names would perpetuate names from India's maritime history and the geographical names would commemorate such Indian geographical features as rivers, mountains and capital cities. Uniformity of nomenclature was to be ensured for each class of ships.

The light fleet carriers were to be named after mountains or peaks such as Vindhya, Vikrant, Satpura and Gauri Shankar; cruisers were to be named after the national capital or the capital cities of our principal maritime states, such as Delhi, Mysore, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras; destroyers were to be named in such a manner that members of each flotilla or squadron would have the same initials,such as Rajput, Rana, and Ranjit or Ganga, Gomati and Godavari; antiaircraft frigates were to be named after rivers such as Jumna, Sutlej, Cauvery (earlier spelling of Kaveri) and Kistna (earlier spelling of Krishna); antisubmarine frigates were to be named after Indian weapons such as Khukri, Kirpan, Kuthar, Tahoar and Trishul.

Submarines were to be named after the various species of fish such as Husa and Matsya; minesweepers were to be named after states such as Bengal, Bombay and Madras (earlier name of Tamil Nadu); major landing craft were to be named after ferocious predatory animals, reptiles and birds such as Magar, and miscellaneous craft were to have appropriate functional names, such as Shakti for a tanker, Dharini for a stores carrier and Bathi, for a tug.

Today the selection of names of ships and submarines of the Indian Navy is done by the Internal Nomenclature Committee (INC) at the Defence Ministry. To maintain uniformity in the names of vessels of one type, the Internal Nomenclature Committee follows certain broad parameters, which have been enumerated in the policy guidelines. So, a cruiser or a destroyer was named after a state capital, a large city, or a great king or warrior from Indias history for example, INS Delhi, INS Kolkata, INS Mysore, INS Mumbai, INS Rana and INS Ranjit.

The frigates are named after a mountain range, a river or a weapon, but care is taken to ensure that the names of ships of the same class have the same initial letter. INS Sahaydri, INS Shivalik, INS Satpura, INS Talwar, INS Teg, INS Brahmaputra and INS Ganga fall in this category. The corvettes are named after personal arms, such as the INS Khukri, INS Kirpan and INS Khanjar, while multi-purpose patrol vessels are named after an island.

Thus, we have the INS Car Nicobar, INS Kalpani and INS Karuva. In accordance with their role, the anti-submarine warfare vessels have names with an offensive or destructive connotation, such as INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt. As submarines operate underwater, they are given either the name of a predatory fish or an abstract name associated with the ocean. The INS Arihant and INS Chakra are nuclear submarines; the conventional ones have had names from INS Sindhughosh and INS Sindhukirti to INS Shalki and INS Shankul. The policy does not differentiate between the naming of the two types of submarine.

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Page last modified: 26-09-2017 18:48:58 ZULU