As they test the waters on the political front, Tamil Nadu ministers and ruling AIADMK MLAs today had a smooth sailing as they undertook a trip on-board warship INS Chennai. The Day at Sea organised by the Navy follows the formal dedication of the indigenously designed guided missile destroyer INS Chennai to the city by Chief Minister K Palaniswami yesterday. Though Palaniswami did not take part in the trip, several senior AIADMK MLAs and ministers did so. Tamil Nadu is witnessing a flurry of political developments amid possible merger of two rival factions of the ruling AIADMK. Minister for Finance and Fisheries, D Jayakumar, Minister for Cooperation 'Sellur' K Raju, Social Welfare Minister V Saroja, Minister for Health C Vijayabhasker, Minister for Handloom and Textiles, O S Manian, Revenue Minister R V Udhaya Kumar were among those who participated. "This is our first trip on a ship. Already I have travelled with fishermen. I have never gone on such a trip with Parliamentarians, MLAs along with their family members.
All my family members, including grandsons and granddaughters joined me for this trip", Handloom Minister Manian said. Finance Minister D Jayakumar said "This is a dedicated ship exclusively built in India. It is equipped with all the modern technology. Going on a trip on a warship is big thing for us". Named after the city, INS Chennai is commanded by captain C R Praveen Nair and has 45 officers. Commissioned by then Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar last year, INS Chennai is one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. The vessel's anti-submarine warfare capabilities include indigenously developed rocket and torpedo launchers. Besides, it is equipped to fight under nuclear, biological and chemical warfare conditions. A unique feature of the ship is the "high level of indigenisation" incorporated in the production. Some major indigenised equipment on-board INS Chennai include combat management system, rocket launcher, torpedo tube launcher, automated power management system and the bow mounted SONAR.
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