Rajiv Gandhi took INS Viraat for family vacation, jeopardised national security: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi during a rally in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday (Pic courtesy: BJP4India/Twitter)

NEW DELHI, May 9, 2019, India Today. Rajiv Gandhi and his family used Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Viraat to go for a vacation during his tenure as prime minister, Narendra Modi said at a public rally in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday, reported the India Today.

Training the guns on Gandhi family, PM Modi said that Rajiv Gandhi also employed navy staff and helicopter for making his family and friends’ stay comfortable during the island vacation.

“Have you ever heard that someone use INS Viraat to enjoy holiday? It happened when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM of this country? INS Viraat, which was deployed on sea borders, was send to enjoy holiday for 10 days,” PM Modi said during the rally.

The prime minister also said that Rajiv Gandhi took his in-laws along with him on the vacation onboard INS Viraat. Rajiv Gandhi’s in-laws were Italian citizens.

“Foreigners were allowed to enter the INS Viraat, was it not a compromise with National security? They put nation first and security of Indian citizens second,” Modi said.

According to an India Today magazine report, the family had taken along quite a few of their Indian and international friends on the uninhabited island of Bangaram in the Lakshadweep archipelago, 465 km west of Cochin.

Especially because the warship’s daily expenditure at sea was astronomical as the Viraat travelled with an entire retinue of escort ships. A submarine was also reported to be in attendance and some defence experts questioned the justification of depriving the navy of its most effective fighting component merely to suit Rajiv’s holiday plans. Considerable expense was also incurred in setting up a special satellite link up at Agatti for the duration of the holiday, the report said.

INS Viraat was Indian Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier. It was commissioned in 1987 and served for almost 30 years.

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