The Andhra Pradesh government has expressed their desire to turn the world’s oldest serving carrier, which is all set to retire on March 6, into a luxury hotel. However, the defence ministry has not made any official announcement as to what will finally be done with INS Viraat. The Indian navy is also waiting for a confirmation from the ministry as they do not wish the INS Viraat to be dismantled just like INS Vikrant was.
The Indian Navy is now gearing up to decommission its former flagship INS Viraat, nearly thirty years after it was inducted into the Indian Navy’s fleet on May 12, 1987. The aircraft carrier holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest carrier in service. The Andhra Pradesh government has suggested that the carrier be turned into a hotel and also proposed to build a Marina accompanied by an entertainment zone.
According to reports, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has written a note to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar urging the central government to provide an “in-principle approval for setting up an SPV,” for the implementation of the project. The state government has affirmed that the project will be in collaboration with the central government. The execution of the project is likely to cost Rs 1,000 crore, whereas maintaining the luxury hotel will cost about Rs. 150 crore annually.
Popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’, INS Viraat’s first major operation was in 1989 as a part of Indian Peace Keeping operations which was known as ‘Operation Jupiter’. It also played a key role in ‘Operation Parakram’ in 2001-2002 when India and Pakistan were at loggerheads after the terror strikes on Indian Parliament.