Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
"India has taken another step towards becoming a developed nation," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, 2 September, as he commissioned INS Vikrant, India's first indigenously built aircraft carrier, into the Indian Navy in Kerala's Kochi.
The warship has been called a "city on the move" and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.
Besides Modi, who arrived at the Cochin Shipyard in the morning, other senior dignitaries present included Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.
The prime minister also unveiled the new Naval Ensign at the commissioning ceremony, as a mark of India having "shed its colonial past."
Dedicating the aircraft to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the PM said, "Till today, Indian Naval flags carried a sign of slavery. This has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj."
He also said that INS Vikrant would strengthen the morale of the country and increase its global standing, emphasising that so far only developed countries had made aircraft carriers.
"Today, India joins the countries that build such large aircraft carriers with indigenous technology," the prime minister said, adding, "INS Vikrant is an example of the government's thrust to making India's defence sector self-reliant."
In an apparent dig at the Congress, PM Modi also said that in the past, security concerns in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean had been ignored, but now the government was making it a top priority.
"That is why we are working in every direction, from increasing the budget for the Navy to increasing its capability," he said.
More About the Aircraft Carrier
INS Vikrant is 262 metres long and 62 metres wide. Once commissioned, it will become India's second aircraft carrier after INS Vikramaditya, which was built by Russia.
The Indian Navy said that the carrier is as big as two football fields put together and 18 floors tall. The ship can also accommodate 1,600 crew members and 30 aircrafts.
Further, the hangar of the warship is as big as two Olympic-size pools.
Initially, it will carry the MiG fighter aircraft, along with helicopters. The Navy will also conduct aviation trials after it gets the command of INS Vikrant.
There are machines on board that can make 3,000 chapatis within an hour.