The first ever India-made aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Cochin Shipyard. INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The ship has now formally joined the Indian Navy fleet.
The new naval ensign takes inspiration from the famous Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal. “The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet,” the Indian Navy said in a video describing the seal.
Addressing the gathering, India’s PM Narendra Modi said, “Vikrant is not just a warship. It is a testament to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of of 21st century India”. Marking the event as the “sunrise of a new future”, the PM added that Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant.
“When INS Vikrant descends to protect our maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will also be stationed there. With the immense power of the ocean, boundless female power, it will become the identity of New India,” PM Modi said.
The carrier houses state-of-the-art automation features at the Cochin Shipyard. During the event, PM Modi also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past.
INS Vikrant will contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade had said earlier. He said the aircraft landing trials on board INS Vikrant will begin in November and they will be completed by mid-2023, adding MiG-29K jets will operate from the warship for the first few years. The commissioning of Vikrant is being seen as a significant step towards India’s self-reliance in the defense sector.
Using a novel aircraft operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft. It has a set of three ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard. Commissioning of ‘Vikrant’ would showcase the country’s indigenization capabilities, besides paying tributes to its freedom fighters and soldiers of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, a Defense statement had said.