Kochi: India's first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will be commissioned next year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday. In a statement to the media after reviewing the progress made in the construction of the IAC, Singh described it as India's “pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat.’’
"Commissioning of this IAC next year would be a befitting tribute to India's 75th year of India's independence", he said.
Reviewed first-hand the ongoing work on the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, which is India's pride and a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The IAC has made significant progress. Commissioning of the IAC next year will be a befitting tribute to 75 years of India's independence. pic.twitter.com/N9542pJneq
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 25, 2021
The Defence Minister said the Navy`s forward deployment showed the country`s intent and readiness during the Galwan Valley standoff amid the military face-off in Ladakh between India and China.
This is the first official word on the Indian Navy`s proactive deployments in wake of the tensions between India and China. Singh was speaking after inspecting the work on the country`s indigenous aircraft carrier in Kochi.
"Navy`s proactive forward deployment during the Galwan standoff signalled our intent that we seek peace but are ready for any eventuality," Rajnath Singh. The Defence Minister said that the Navy remains poised and combat-ready to tackle any challenge.
Singh, who is on a two-day visit to Karwar and Kochi, had on Thursday reviewed Project Seabird at Karwar, which will be the largest Naval Base of the Indian Navy in future. It will provide the facilities and infrastructure to support the Navy`s operations in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond.
INS Vikrant - the aircraft carrier - is a much-needed boost for the Indian Navy`s capabilities as the navy currently functions with only one aircraft carrier.
The construction of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi has faced many delays since work started on it in 2009. An additional aircraft carrier is key in wake of growing Chinese forays into the Indian Ocean Region.
While INS Vikrant awaits completion even after 11 years since work started, China`s first indigenous carrier was commissioned in 2018 within 3 years of starting construction.
India currently has INS Vikaramditya as the only operational aircraft carrier while INS Vikrant is under construction and the Indian Navy has been pressing for the third one but faces resistance from the government and military planners.
Vikrant is in an advanced stage and is expected to start sea trials soon and be fully ready by later 2022 or early 2023. "Our impetus to modernisation, harnessing India`s indigenous industry and know-how, is a key priority," he said.
Pointing out that the Navy is looking at indigenous options, the Defence Ministry said 42 of the 44 warships on order being built at Indian shipyards is a testimony to this. During his address, Singh also talked out the Navy`s 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-II, despite dangers of Covid spread onboard warships.
(With Agency Inputs)