As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned the country’s first homebuilt aircraft carrier on Friday and the Indian Navy adopted a new ensign, shedding its last vestiges of colonial iconography, among those in attendance was the British High Commissioner to India.
“Honored to be present at the commissioning of #INSVikrant by @narendramodi – a great day for @indiannavy and for open and free seas,” High Commissioner Alex Ellis tweeted with a video message from the cockpit. of the huge aircraft carrier.
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWellis) September 2, 2022
After 17 years of construction and trials, Prime Minister Modi commissioned INS Vikrant – the Navy’s second operational aircraft carrier and the largest warship ever built in India – at a shipyard run by state, highlighting his government’s efforts to boost domestic production to supply a deployed army. on two disputed borders.
The Indian Navy has also unveiled a new ensign, forgoing the colonial-era St. George’s Cross and adopting a design that pays homage to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Kingdom who had a naval fleet.
“Until today, Indian Navy flags carried a sign of slavery, which has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Prime Minister Modi said, before commissioning the INS Vikrant.
“Today, India has joined the countries of the world that can manufacture such a large aircraft carrier with indigenous technology,” Prime Minister Modi said. “It is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills.”
Designed to accommodate a crew of around 1,600 and a fleet of 30 aircraft, the Vikrant will rely on Russian-designed MIG-29K aircraft already operating from India’s other carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which India bought from Russia.
The Vikrant will significantly increase India’s maritime capabilities, allowing the navy to operate one aircraft carrier on each coast, alongside its 10 destroyers, 12 frigates and 20 corvettes.
“Security issues in the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean have long been ignored,” Prime Minister Modi said. “But today this area is a major defense priority for our country.”