Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said INS Vikrant is an example of the Indian government's thrust to making its defence sector self-reliant and has made the country part of the select group of nations who can indigenously make aircraft carriers.
Modi also unveiled the Indian Navy's new ensign which drops the St.George's Cross and incorporates the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Addressing a large gathering at the commissioning ceremony of INS Vikrant, Modi said with the new ensign, the country has shed its colonial past.
Till today Indian Naval flags carried a sign of slavery which has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he said. Modi also spoke about certain features of the aircraft carrier -- which he described as a floating airfield, a floating town -- and said that power generated in it can light up 5,000 houses.
"INS Vikrant is not a mere war machine but proof of India's skill and talent. It is special, different," Modi said and highlighted the indigenisation efforts behind the massive ship, including the steel that went into its making.
The Prime Minister commissioned the carrier, built at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore, at a function organised at the Cochin Shipyard Limited here.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Kerala Governor Arif Mohamad Khan, state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden, Navy Chief Admiral R.Hari Kumar and top officials of Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the induction of INS Vikrant, named after its predecessor that played a crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, into the Navy. The carrier is equipped with state-of-the-art features.