Saving lives across the sea | Daily News
INS Gharial (L-23):

Saving lives across the sea

The primary objective of the Navy is to safeguard the nation's maritime borders, and in conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace. Through joint exercises, goodwill visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief, the Indian Navy promotes bilateral relations between nations.

As of June 2019, Indian Navy has 67,252 active and 75,000 reserve personnel in service and has a fleet of 150 ships and submarines, and 300 aircraft. As of April 2022, the operational fleet consists of 1 active aircraft carrier and 1 amphibious transport dock, 8 landing ship tanks, 10 destroyers, 13 frigates, 1 ballistic missile submarine, 16 conventionally-powered attack submarines, 24 corvettes, one mine countermeasure vessel, 4 fleet tankers and numerous other auxiliary vessels, small patrol boats and sophisticated ships. It is considered as a multi-regional power projection blue-water Navy.

The Magar-class landing ships are amphibious warfare vessels of the Indian Navy, currently in active service. Only two ships of the class were designed and built by Hindustan Shipyard Limited, with fitting completed at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers. The design of the class is based on the Round Table-class ships formerly operated by the Royal Navy. They can operate two medium-lift helicopters, which are primarily meant for inserting small teams of Special Forces (e.g. MARCOS). To discharge a ship's cargo and most of the troops, it needs to be beached, so that it can utilize its bow-door, similar to an LST or Landing Ship Tank. The ships are stationed at the Naval base in Visakhapatnam on India's East coast.

Life saving medicines

INS Gharial arrived at Colombo on April 29, 2022 for delivery of the first consignment of Critical Medical Stores (760 Kg divided into 107 boxes) requested by the Government of Sri Lanka. These life saving medicines were received by roadways, from HLL Lifecare Limited at Poojappura, Kerala. The cargo of 107 cases was carefully stored onboard for the voyage to Colombo. Carrying this special medical cargo the INS Gharial had to get the due clearance of documentation with regards to such shipments. The Superintendent of Customs, Kochi visited the ship and made inspections. The INS Gharial completed her mercy mission and reached Colombo on April 29, 2022 where the crew was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy. The High Commissioner of India at Colombo Gopal Baglay handed over the stores to Minister of Health Professor Channa Jayasumana, onboard the ship. The medical stores would be provided to hospital operated by the University of Peradeniya.

India said yesterday its economic assistance to Sri Lanka has risen to over US$ 3 billion so far this year thereby being instrumental in addressing diverse needs of the Government and people of Sri Lanka.

In a statement the Indian High Commission in Colombo said the US$ 1 billion Credit Facility for purchase of food, medicines and other essential commodities is already operational and around 16,000 MT of rice supplied under it, ahead of Avurudu, is being distributed through various Sathosa outlets.

Commodities to be supplied from India under this concessional credit line are finalized by the Government of Sri Lanka. The Government of India facilitates these supplies strictly in accordance with the priorities of the Government of Sri Lanka. As on date, additional consignments of rice and other food supplies, medicines and industrial raw materials, among others, are envisaged under the Credit Line.


The INS Gharial was commissioned on February 14, 1997. This ship is an amphibious platform Landing Ship Tank (LST). Ships complement- includes 136 men (including 16 officers). The INS Gharial has a Displacement 5665 tons. The LSTs length is 125 metres and beam 17.5 metres. She can cruise at speeds upto 15 knots. On voyage her sea range is 3,000 nautical miles. Cargo capacity- 15 armoured tanks, 8 armoured personnel carriers with a contingent of 500 troops when required. Ships armament consists of - 4x 40 mm guns 2x 122 mm multiple rocket launchers. This Indian Navy ship has the capacity for Beaching Operations, fleet support vessel in the role of fuelling, HADR Operations, hospital role ship with Portable Containerized Medical Facility (PCMF). The INS Gharial can multi-task as a hospital ship with a 120 bed ward, with 10 days resources and a further capacity for 15 major surgeries and 30 minor surgeries. In addition this has a dental section and a 12 bed isolation ward. Indian Navy doctors on board also have a separate burn ward to treat such victims.

The medical capacity is augmented with a diagnostic centre and fully fledged modern state of the art lab and X-ray machines. A unique medical station onboard is an Intensive Care Unit (Unit) that can undertake surgical procedures including amputation. INS Gharial has the onboard facility for landing helicopters, which can also be used for medical evacuation. This magnificent Landing Ship Tank is commanded by Commander Sunil Patil. The INS Gharial embarked on a vital voyage across the sea to save many Sri Lankan lives. The bonds of sincere solidarity between India and Sri Lanka were further enhanced by this kind gesture by the Government of India.

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