Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday commissioned the first India-made aircraft carrier and dedicated it to Chhatrapathi Shivaji. The 45,000-tonne warship, built at a cost of Rs. 20,000 crore was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Cochin Shipyard.
Modi also unveiled a new ensign for the Indian navy calling the old ensign a symbol of ‘slavery.’
Speaking at the event, Modi said, “Till today Indian Naval flags carried a sign of slavery which has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.”
He added, “Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj built such a navy on the strength of this sea power, which gave the enemies sleepless nights. When the British came to India, they used to be intimidated by the power of Indian ships.”
The Indian navy said in a tweet, “The new Naval Ensign unveiled by @PMOIndia Shri @narendramodi on #02Sep 22, during the glorious occasion of commissioning of #INSVikrant, first indigenously built Indian Aircraft Carrier & thus, an apt day for heralding the change of ensign.”
The Indian navy said that the warship had been built using 26,000 tonnes of indigenous steel, giving direct and indirect employment to more than 14,000 people.
INS Vikrant is 262 metres long and 62 metres wide and can have 20 aircraft including MiG-29 fighter jets and helicopters on board. A total of 1600 crew members can be present on board the aircraft carrier at any given time.
This is the first time that India has built its own aircraft carrier. The only other aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, with the Indian navy was built on the Russian platform.