This Article is From Jun 14, 2014

'It's a Moment of Pride for Me': PM Narendra Modi On Board INS Vikramaditya

PM Narendra Modi inside the cockpit of a MiG 29K on board INS Vikramaditya

On Board INS Vikramaditya: For the 1500 sailors and over 110 officers on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, it was a day to remember.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose the carrier, India's biggest and most potent ship, for his first defence outing today and spent over four hours on board watching various elements of naval combat power despite rain and rough sea. (Watch video here)

While on the ship that is sailing off the Goa coast in the Arabian Sea, he also sat in the cockpit of a MiG-29 K fighter jet and interacted with the crew on board.
 (See pictures)

"For me, it is a moment of pride and happiness that INS Vikramaditya is joining the Navy. It is a historic step," he said while addressing the officers. Stressing on the need for self-reliance in defence equipment manufacturing, he added, "We need to give immense importance to latest technology. This will help the nation. Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self-sufficient. Why can't we send our defence equipment to other nations?"

Procured from Russia, INS Vikramaditya is one of the newest acquisitions of the Indian Navy and the most powerful symbol of its military reach. It was commissioned last November by then Defence Minister AK Antony at Russia's Sevmash shipyard. (See pictures)

The Prime Minister, who was travelling outside Delhi for the first time since taking oath on May 26, landed at INS Hansa, the naval air station in Goa, around 10 am and was received by Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan. After a ceremonial guard of honour, he flew in a chopper to the 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier.

During his 'day at sea' with the Western Naval Command fleet, he witnessed air power demonstration by various naval aircraft.

A MiG 29K aircraft did a flight demo although a touch down and take off from the Vikramaditya's flight deck could not be demonstrated due to bad weather. Twelve frontline ships including latest frigates and destroyers besides INS Viraat did a 'steam past' along INS Vikramaditya as the Prime Minister watched.

Accompanying him on the visit were Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh and Defence Secretary RK Mathur.

INS Vikramaditya has an overall length of 284 metres and a beam of 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together. Standing about 20 storeys tall from keel to the highest point, the vessel has 22 decks.

The warship has the ability to carry 30 aircraft, including an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, and Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.