After the launch of the indigenously built INS Vikrant, India has started work on its second aircraft carrier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.
Addressing the 'Agenda Aaj Tak' programme, Mr Singh said India became the seventh country in the world to build an aircraft carrier when it launched INS Vikrant recently.
"When India became Independent not even a needle was manufactured in the country. In 2022, we are building a massive aircraft carrier like INS Vikrant," Defence Minister said.
He said a few years back nobody would have believed that India was capable of such a thing.
"After the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Japan, India is the only seventh country that can build an aircraft carrier," Mr Singh said.
"Hamare doosre aircraft carrier ka bhi kaam prarambh ho gaya hai (Work has begun on our second aircraft carrier)," the minister said.
He underscored that the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier has achieved 73-74 per cent indigenisation.
Currently, India operates two aircraft carriers – Russian-built INS Vikramaditya and indigenously built INS Vikrant, a 40,000 tonne vessel.
Last week, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar had said the Navy was considering a repeat order for INS Vikrant to capitalise on the expertise available within the country.
Mr Kumar said the Navy was yet to firm up its mind on building the indigenous aircraft carrier-2, a heavier vessel with 65,000 tonnes displacement.
Mr Singh said under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to businesses to 'Make in India' and 'Make for the World'.
He said Tata-Airbus have laid the foundation in India for manufacturing the C-295 transport aircraft, which will also be exported to other countries.
Mr Singh said India's defence exports had already touched Rs 14,000 crore this year and were set to reach Rs 19,000 crore by the end of 2023.
The defence minister said India has set the target of Rs 25,000 in defence exports by 2024-25.
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