By Sitanshu Kar, MoD SpokespersonMarking a new high in India-Russia strategic cooperation, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today commissioned the completely refurbished 44,500 tonne carrier Admiral Gorshkov into the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya at an impressive ceremony at sub zero temperature in the wind- swept Sevmash Shipyard in the beautiful city of Severodvinsk in Russia. Snow flakes kept falling as the ceremony was held.
(From Sevmash Shipyard, Russia)
(From Sevmash Shipyard, Russia)
Speaking at the event, Shri Antony said INS Vikramaditya would significantly enhance the reach and capability of the Indian Navy. He said, the country has a rich maritime history and the Indian Ocean has guided our fate over the centuries.
“India’s economic development is dependent on the seas and safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests is central to our national policy. Aircraft carriers have been part of the Indian Navy’s force structure since our independence and have effectively served the country over the past five decades or so. The induction of ‘Vikramaditya’ with its integral MiG29K fighters and Kamov-31 helicopters, not only reinforces this central policy, but also adds a new dimension to our Navy’s operational capabilities. The meaning of ‘Vikramaditya’, which literally translates into “Strong as the Sun” is complemented by the Ship’s motto –“Strike Far, Strike Sure”,he said.
Reflecting the mood at the ceremony, Shri Antony said, ‘the event realizes the vision of capability-based transformation of the Indian Navy that was conceived more than a decade ago’. Calling it a Red Letter Day in the history of India- Russia cooperation, Shri Antony said this relationship remains a matter of the highest priority for both nations for our mutual benefit and as a factor of global peace and stability.
“The successful culmination of Project 11430 truly symbolizes the time-tested Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between our two great nations. The Project has propelled the strategic partnership between our nations to a new level. The relationship between our two countries based on mutual trust and belief has withstood the test of time and the result is for the entire world to see in the form of ‘Vikramaditya’. As the ship sails into its home waters in the Indian Ocean Region, INS ‘Vikramaditya’ will be a befitting tribute to our long-standing relationship”, he said.
Describing the Project 11430 as a unique one, Shri Antony said, it was a challenging task for both the Russian and the Indian sides and congratulated the entire team for converting the ‘Dream Project’ into a reality. “The transformation of INS ‘Vikramaditya’ is an engineering marvel, which has tested the professionalism, capability and perseverance of the Indian Navy and the Russian industry, especially the Sevmash Shipyard”, he said and expressed confidence that all possible support would be extended by Russia to ensure that the ship serves India effectively and efficiently for the duration of its expected operational life cycle.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi said the INS Vikramaditya will bridge the time-gap that may come up between the INS Viraat and the Indigenously built aircraft carrier Vikrant.It will also help achieving our medium term goal of operating two aircraft carriers.
A large number of dignitaries including the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Mr Dmitry Rogozin and Defence Minister Mr Shoigu, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi, the Indian Ambassador to Russia Shri Ajay Malhotra, the Defence Secretary Shri RK Mathur, the DG Acquisition Shri SB Agnihotri were present on the occasion.
Mr Rogozin said INS Vikramaditya symbolises the close friendship between India and Russia and expressed confidence that it will grow in the coming years.