Kochi: Commissioning the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India’s security interests to the world and hailed the momentous occasion as the country did away with yet another mark of her colonial past with the Navy unveiling a “Bharatiya nishaan”.
“The global environment is changing. It has made the world multi-polar. In approaching times, it becomes very important to see which will be the center of activities in future,” the Prime Minister said commenting on the changing geo-strategic situation.
“For example, security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean have been ignored for a long time in the past.
“But, today this region is a major priority for us. So we are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the Navy to increasing its capacity,” he added.
He said that the commissioning of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant is analogous to sunrise in New India.
This aircraft carrier is a testament to our strong resolve for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. INS Vikrant is the symbol of New India’s potential, hard work, and commitment… It’s an example of the government’s thrust to making India’s defense sector self-reliant,” he said.
The event being held on INS Vikrant is a reflection of India’s growing spirits on the world horizon, the Prime Minister added.
Unveiling the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), inspired by the Maratha warrior king, Modi said the nation is also finally “doing away with the colonial past” as the “Nishaan” is befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage”.
“Today on the historic date of September 2, 2022, another history-changing act has happened. India has taken off a trace of slavery, a burden of slavery. Indian Navy has got a new flag from today. The identity of slavery remained on the flag of the Indian Navy for decades.
“But from today onwards, inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the new Navy flag will fly in the sea and in the sky,” he said.
Today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology, he said.
“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.
Explaining 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 that INS Vikrant is a living embodiment of the Spirit of the Panch Prans that he proclaimed from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15.
The Prime Minister spoke about the Indian Maritime tradition and naval capabilities. Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj, he said, had built such a navy that it 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 Prime Minister remarked that when 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 is becoming the 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 to waves of the oceans, there will be no boundaries or restrictions on the daughters of India,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that 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.
He said that a strong India will pave the way for a peaceful and safe world.
Designed by the 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, and Waterways, Vikrant has been built with state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.
The Indigenous 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 now has two operational Aircraft Carriers, which will bolster the maritime security of the nation. The aircraft carrier will increase India’s reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
With IAC Vikrant being ready, India has joined the select group of nations including the US, UK, Russia, China, and France that have the niche capability to design and manufacture aircraft carriers above 40,000 tonnes.
INS Vikrant has 2,200 compartments including separate accommodation for women officers and female Agniveer sailors.
The warship is made of a large number of indigenous materials such as steel, other equipment, and systems which are manufactured by Indian industrial houses and about 100 MSMEs with an overall project cost of Rs 19,341 crore.
The carrier is 262 meter long, 62 meter at the widest part, and a height of 59 meter including the superstructure. There are 14 decks in all, including five in the superstructure.
The ship’s compartments are designed for a crew of around 1,700 people.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Naval Staff R Hari Kumar, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, V Muraleedharan and Ajay Bhat, Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those present on the occasion.