Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday commissioned the first indigenous aircraft carrier as INS Vikrant, the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India, and unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan) at Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, Kerala.
Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant, the prime minister said while addressing the gathering on the occasion
“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,” he said.
INS Vikrant has been made using indigenous equipment and machinery supplied by India's major industrial houses as well as over 100 MSMEs, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“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,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister 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.
“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.
Describing the Carrier, the Prime Minister said, “It is like a floating city. It produces electricity that is sufficient to power 5000 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.
Modi recalled the Indian Maritime tradition and naval capabilities and said, 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 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, the Prime Minister said.
“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,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister remarked that when Vikrant descends to protect our maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will 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,” Modi said.
Commenting on the changing geo-strategic situation, he said in the past, security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean have long been ignored. But, today this area is a major defence priority of the country for us. That is why we are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the Navy to increasing its capability, he said.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, V Muraleedharan, Ajay Bhat, National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval and Chief of Naval Staff R Hari Kumar were among those present on the occasion.
Fascinating Facts about INS Vikrant
1. INS Vikrant is designed by Indian Navy's in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB)
2. It is built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways
3. Vikrant has been built with state of the art automation features
5. INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India.
6. The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is named after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 War.
7. It has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs.
8. With the commissioning of Vikrant, India will have two operational Aircraft Carriers, which will bolster the maritime security of the nation.
9. The steel installed in its airbase is also indigenous, developed by DRDO scientists and produced by Indian companies
10. Vikrant produces electricity that is sufficient to power 5000 households and the wiring used will reach Kashi from Kochi.