Indian Navy gets its first home-built aircraft carrier
New Delhi, Sep 2 (EFE).- India commissioned its first home-built aircraft carrier on Friday, providing the navy with a force multiplier as rival China flexes its military muscles in the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the 262-meter-long warship, Vikrant, which took about 17 years to build at the state-run Cochin Shipyard in southern India.
The ship, which can accommodate a crew of approximately 1,600 people, underwent nearly a year of sea trials before being commissioned in the Indian Navy.
The vessel built for 200 billion Indian rupees ($2.5 billion) is the first aircraft carrier India has designed and built on its own.
With a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes, the carrier can operate an air wing of 30 aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters.
Some 76 percent of the components were indigenously procured from India’s major industrial houses and 100 small businesses for the carrier that serves as a perfect example of Modi’s flagship slogan of “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat,” – a self-reliant India.
“India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology,” Modi said at the commissioning ceremony.
The prime minister mentioned the race for naval superiority in the Indian Ocean region without naming China.
He said security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean had long been ignored.
“The area is a major defence priority of the country for us. We are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the navy to increasing its capability.”
Modi also unveiled a new flag for the Indian Navy “taking off a trace of slavery, a burden of slavery.”
“Till now, the identity of slavery remained on the flag of Indian Navy,” the prime minister said.
He said the new ensign did away with the colonial past and was befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage. EFE