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First submarine museum handed over to AP Govt

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The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, at a function to mark the handing over of India's first submarine museum, Kursura, by the Indian Navy at Vizag on Friday. To his left are Dr S.A. Rehman, Chairman of Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority, and Vice-Admiral Raman Puri, Flag Officer Commanding of Eastern Naval Command.

VISAKHAPATNAM, Aug. 9

THE Soviet-built 1-641 class submarine, INS Kursura, the fourth to be inducted into the Indian Navy on December 18, 1969, has a glorious history in defending Indian shores. And now, almost 33 years later, Kursura, sitting snugly on the beach of Vizag, has an equally glorious future as India's first submarine museum.

The Indian Navy handed over the submarine museum, stated to the first of its kind in South-East Asia and fourth in the world, to the State Government on Friday. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, dedicated the museum to the nation.

Designed for long-range ocean patrol and underwater attack deep inside enemy waters, Kursura had played a stellar role in the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict. After 31 years of service to the nation, it was decommissioned on February 28, 2001.

Today the same submarine is playing a different role - giving a glimpse of life inside a submarine and the hardships encountered by the submariner at sea to visitors and tourists. The complete submarine, including its weapon package, was hauled from sea to the beach and positioned on a concrete foundation. With minimum modification to the structure, the originality of the submarine is still reflected by Kursura.

The submarine museum offers the opportunity to visitors to tour the once forbidden confines of an Indian Naval submarine, see the torpedo rooms and crew quarters, view the once top-secret sonar and radar rooms and the top-security submarine control room.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naidu said a similar submarine museum could be set up on the banks of Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad to add to the tourist attractions in the State capital. He pointed out that Vizag had immense potential in the tourism segment and the State Government was making efforts to tap this opportunity.

Vice-Admiral Raman Puri, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, said that it was apt to have the submarine museum in Vizag as the region had a rich maritime history and the submarine arm of the Indian Navy was born here some 30 years ago.

He thanked the National Ship Design and Research Centre, which hauled the submarine onto the beach and positioned it at the designated spot in a unique operation, the Directorate-General of Naval Projects and the Marine Care N Associates, which carried out repairs, renovation and conversion work on the submarine.

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