Indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant
Indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant

Modi commissions India's first indigenous aircraft carrier as INS Vikrant

Kochi, September 2, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier as INS Vikrant here on Friday, describing the ship as a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant.

During the event, the Prime Minister also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage.

Addressing the gathering at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the builders of the ship, the Prime Minister said that, here on the coast of Kerala, India, every Indian is witnessing the sunrise of a new future.

"This event being held on the INS Vikrant is a tribute to the rising spirits of India on the world horizon. Today we are seeing a manifestation of the dream of the freedom fighters where they envisioned a capable and strong India," he said.

“Vikrant is huge, massive, and vast. Vikrant is distinguished, Vikrant is also special. Vikrant is not just a warship. This is a testament to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of India in the 21st century. If the goals are distant, the journeys are long, the ocean and the challenges are endless – then India's answer is Vikrant. The incomparable Amrit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is Vikrant," he said.

Describing the need mood of the nation, Modi said no challenge was too difficult for today's India.

"Today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology. Today INS Vikrant has filled the country with a new confidence, and has created a new confidence in the country.”

He acknowledged and praised the contribution of the Navy, engineers of Cochin Shipyard, scientists and specially the workers who worked on the project. He also noted the happy and auspicious occasion of Onam that is adding even more happiness to the occasion.

"Every part of INS Vikrant has its own merits, a strength, a development journey of its own. It is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills. The steel installed in its airbase is also indigenous, developed by DRDO scientists and produced by Indian companies," he said.

Referring to the massive proportions of the carrier, the Prime Minister said it is like a floating city. It produces electricity that is sufficient to power 5,000 households and the wiring used will reach Kashi from Kochi, he said. He said that INS Vikrant is a living embodiment of the spirit of the Panch Prans that he proclaimed from the ramparts of Red Fort.

The Prime Minister talked about the Indian maritime tradition and naval capabilities. Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj, he said, built such a navy on the strength of this sea power, which kept the enemies on their toes. When the British came to India, they used to be intimidated by the power of Indian ships and the trade through them. So they decided to break the back of India's maritime power. History is witness to how strict restrictions were imposed on Indian ships and merchants by enacting a law in the British Parliament at that time, he said.

The Prime Minister said that, today, India had taken off a trace of slavery, a burden of slavery. "The Indian Navy has got a new flag from today. Till now the identity of slavery remained on the flag of Indian Navy. But from today onwards, inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the new Navy flag will fly in the sea and in the sky," he said.

The Prime Minister remarked that when Vikrant begins to protect India's maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will also be stationed there. With the immense power of the ocean, boundless female power, it is becoming the lofty identity of the new India. Now the Indian Navy has decided to open all its branches for women. The restrictions that were there are now being removed. Just as there are no boundaries for the capable waves, there will be no boundaries or restrictions for the daughters of India, he said.

He also mentioned the salute by an indigenous canon on this Independence Day. Similarly, if every citizen of India starts living the mantra of "Vocal for Local", then it will not take long for the country to become self-reliant.

Commenting on the changing geo-strategic situation, he said in the past, security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean were ignored. But, today this area is a major defence priority of the country for India.

"That is why we are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the Navy to increasing its capability. A strong India will pave the way for a peaceful and safe world," he said.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, V Muraleedharan and Ajay Bhat, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar were among those present on the occasion.

INS Vikrant is designed by Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.

It has state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.

The aircraft carrier is named after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first aircraft carrier which had played a vital role in the 1971 war. It has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs.

With the commissioning of Vikrant, India will have two operational aircraft carriers.

NNN

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