India's first 'made-in-India' Aircraft Carrier - INS Vikrant - will be commissioned next year and its combat capability, reach and versatility will add formidable capabilities in the country's defence, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at the southern naval command in Kochi today.
In a statement to the media after visiting INS Vikrant at Ernakulam wharf of the Cochin port to review its construction progress, Rajnath Singh described it as "India's pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat".
INS Vikrant is also known as the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 or IAC-1
"The project was originally approved by the NDA government and has made significant progress in recent past despite COVID-19.
"Commissioning of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) next year will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India's independence", Mr Singh said in the statement read out to the media.
"The combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier will add formidable capabilities in the defence of our country and help secure India's interests in the maritime domain," the Defence Minister said.
The minister said it was a pleasure to review first-hand, the work being done on the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.
Rajnath Singh, who reviewed Project Seabird at Karwar, which will be the largest naval base of the Indian Navy in future, and will provide the facilities and infrastructure to support the navy's operations in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond, said the government is fully committed to a strong navy and these two projects are examples of our unwavering focus.
"Our impetus to modernisation, harnessing India's indigenous industry and know-how, is a key priority. Forty-two of the 44 warships on order being built at Indian shipyards is a testimony to this", he said.
He said the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier boasts of nearly 75 per cent indigenous content, from design, to steel used in construction, to key weapons and sensors.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has also recently accorded approval for RFP of Project 75-I under the Strategic Partnership model, which will give further fillip to indigenous development of niche manufacturing technologies, the minister said.
"These measures will help enhance the Indian Navy's operational reach and prowess to protect India's maritime interests," he said.
Rajnath Singh said the Indian Navy remains poised and combat ready to tackle any challenge.
"Navy's proactive forward deployment during the Galwan standoff signalled our intent that we seek peace but are ready for any eventuality," the minister added.
He said the Navy has also made significant contributions in the fight against COVID-19, bringing back Indian citizens from overseas during Op Samudra Setu-I, and much needed Liquid Medical Oxygen during Samudra Setu-lI, despite dangers of COVID-19 spread onboard warships.
SAR efforts by the Navy during Cyclone Tauktae showcased the spirit of daring and courage among our men and women in whites, he said.
"Our efforts are in alignment with the Prime Minister's vision of SAGAR, or Security and Growth for All in the Region, and the wider goal of a Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific, to ensure peace and stability in the region," he added.