The ship's timeline and a special postage cover was also released during the ceremony

Kochi: INS Magar, the oldest landing ship of the Indian Navy was decommissioned on Saturday after a prestigious service to the country for 36 years.

The ship, commanded by Cdr Hemant V Salunkhe, was decommissioned at a sunset ceremony held at the Naval Base here.

The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command (SNC), Vice Admiral, M A Hampiholi, who had helmed the ship from 2005-06, was the Chief Guest for the ceremony, Navy said.

The ship's timeline and a special postage cover was also released during the ceremony which was witnessed by dignitaries including senior personnel from the Armed forces, veterans and civil administration.

Prior to the decommissioning ceremony, a "Barakhana" (wherein naval personnel enjoyed a special meal together) was organised by the ship in honour of erstwhile Commanding Officers, Officers and veterans who had served onboard the ship, Navy said in the release.

INS Magar was launched on November 16, 1984 by Meera Tahiliani and commissioned on July 18, 1987 at Garden Reach Shipyard and Engineers Limited, Kolkata by late Admiral R H Tahiliani, Navy said.

"During her service, she participated in numerous operations, amphibious exercises and humanitarian missions and operations including Samudra Setu wherein more than 4,000 Indian nationals were repatriated from various corners of the world, during the COVID-19 pandemic," the release said.

The ship was also instrumental in evacuation of over 1,300 survivors post Tsunami in 2004 and had been part of several joint military exercises with the Indian Army. In 2018, the vessel was converted into a training ship and joined the First Training Squadron at Kochi.

As a precursor to the decommissioning, various outreach activities were conducted by the ship including a blood donation camp in collaboration with Indian Medical Association, Kochi on February 16.

A cycle expedition was conducted from Kochi to Trivandrum from February 22 to 27 boosting jointmanship and synergy with 91 Infantry Brigade. Twenty sea warriors of the ship undertook a bike expedition from Pune to Kochi from March 27 to April 8 fostering a spirit of camaraderie with its affiliated Army Unit, the Bombay Sappers.