Wednesday, October 26, 2016

INS Viraat - War Games On The High Sea (2)

By Manuwant Choudhary

The giant INS Viraat is the real `mothership' and not what Modi was talking about.

Actually Narendra Modi cannot offend even the word `mother' so in describing Pakistan, he, at the last second, called it the `mothership' of terror.

But on INS Viraat even an ant can feel the power.

The aircraft carrier is huge and you don't feel sea sickness at all.

When it has speed...a momentum that you know you can easily finish Karachi and more.

An aircraft carrier is not for defence, but offence, so every time our politicians tell us how we buy arms only for our self-defence, remember this.

Yet, as I looked out at the the blue as far as one could see, my respect for the fishermen who live at the Machchimaar Nagar, Cuffe Parade in Bombay, grew even far away from India's coastline, there they were fishing in the deep waters.

The small boats tossed against the waves...and their communication systems may have been rudimentary at best.

Just to earn a living.

A naval exercise of this scale requires international permissions so that commercial liners don't use this area.

But  getting the smaller fishing boats out of the way is the real challenge.

So helicopters, equipped with loud speakers, make the final sorties warning  all boats to leave the area.

The other thing is protection to the aircraft carrier itself.

So there were eight war ships on either side. with warrior names INS Ranbir..equipped with the best guns to prevent any enemy ship to get within range.

Its deafening so they gave us ear plugs...

I walked around the top deck taking the photos when senior officers were not looking....behaving like a pro....

The sunrise and the sunsets are complete...unobstructed by any man-made `developments'.

I don't think one can feel this way even on an expensive luxury liner.

And then the night...

Its scary..the sound of a ship moving into the darkness at a speed measured in Knots.

The sounds were poetic of the Tennyson kind in `The Charge Of The Light Brigade'

"Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

 We were given the best rooms, meant for the pilots, it had iron beds and a small basin in the corner, just enough to move but not stretch.

I thought of the pilots in wartime !

When at some unworldly hour we were woken-up and without even getting a chance to wash up, we had to get on the deck...climbing steep iron ladders virtually up a chimney...

It must be 2 am.

No fishing boats around..

And there we were ..

Then a Boom !

A flash of lightening.

A ship alongside fired a missile...

And within a few seconds another ship fired another missile.

We could see one missile chase the other...

Until, in the distant, we got see the second missile hit the first.

An explosion...just a dot...(faster than any camera to catch)...

 An extra-terestrial experience, more like a collision of comets.

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