Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated ultra-modern aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to the Navy, off the coast of Goa, and asserted that India would neither threaten any country, nor be intimidated by any power, but would engage with all nations as equals. (“हम किसी को न आँख दिखायेंगे, न आँख झुकायेंगे, दुनिया से आँख मिला कर बात करेंगे”)
The prime minister lauded the dedication and bravery of the jawans of the Army, Navy and Air Force. He said that “a secure India” was the first requirement for the country to progress and achieve new heights. He said the Navy had written a golden chapter in the history of India’s maritime security.
Modi witnessed a three-hour long breathtaking display of naval capabilities aboard the Navy’s biggest and newest acquisition – which included a rocket firing demonstration, an air power demo and a steam past by naval ships. He was given a briefing on the ship’s capabilities. Earlier, the prime minister was received by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan at INS Hansa Naval Base.
Addressing the naval sailors onboard INS Vikramaditya, the prime minister said that he had stepped out of New Delhi for the first time since assuming the office, and had flown straight to meet them onboard the Vikramaditya.
Modi said that technology was now as important as skill and bravery for superiority of the armed forces, and asserted that India would move towards self-reliance and indigenisation in the defence equipment manufacturing sector. He added that Indian-made arms and equipment should also serve as protectors for small nations across the world.
Modi said that the spirit of the nation’s leadership was as important for a strong nation as the armed forces. He announced that the government had decided to construct a National War Memorial to salute the courage of the brave martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the motherland.
The prime minister said the government was committed to implementing the “one rank, one pension” scheme.
Speaking of the historical context of the navy, Modi said that in India the great King Shivaji was the first one to operationalise a navy to secure India’s maritime trading interests. He said a network of naval NCC should be formed in each block along the coastline.
May INS Vikramaditya imbibe the radiance of the sun, and the confidence of victory in each one of you, the prime minister told the sailors. (“विक्रमादित्य, जिसके नाम के साथ सूर्य जैसी तेजस्विता जुड़ी है, आप सबके जीवन में भी सूर्य की प्रखरता आए और विजयी होने के विश्वास पैदा हो”)
The prime minister was accompanied by Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar, MoS Defence Inderjit Singh Rao and MoS(IC) (Tourism and Culture) Shripad Yesso Naik and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
INS Vikramaditya is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier which entered into service with the Indian Navy in 2013. The ship has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary 1st century BC emperor of Ujjain.
Originally built as Baku, named Admiral Gorshkov and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet (until the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and Russian Navies before being decommissioned in 1996 as she was too expensive to operate on a post-Cold War budget. India purchased the carrier on 20 January 2004 after years of negotiations at a final price of $2.35 billion. The ship successfully completed her sea trials in July 2013 and aviation trials in September 2013. She was formally commissioned on 16 November 2013 at a ceremony held at Severodvinsk, Russia.