In his first visit to an operational military formation after assuming office, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicated the country’s new aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya to the Nation.
The Prime Minister embarked the aircraft carrier at sea off Goa, which was operating in the company of ten other frontline warships of the Indian Navy’s ‘Sword Arm’ – the Western Fleet. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Chief Minister of Goa Shri Manohar Parrikar, the Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, the National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan and the Defence Secretary Shri RK Mathus. He was received onboard INS Vikramaditya by the Commander-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, and Fleet Commander, Western Fleet Rear Admiral AK Chawla.
On arrival at the Naval Air Station INS Hansa, the Prime Minister was received by Admiral RK Dhowan and accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour. Thereafter, Shri Modi embarked the aircraft carrier at sea by helicopter.
During the day, the Prime Minister witnessed ‘Air Power Demonstration’ by various naval aircraft including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers, P 8 I Long Range Maritime Patrol Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft, TU 142M, IL 38 SD, Dorniers, Kamov and Sea King helicopters. He also witnessed high speed manoeuvres by Western Fleet ships including the other aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi class destroyers Mysore and Mumbai, stealth frigates Tarkash, Talwar and Teg, guided missile frigates Betwa and Godavari and fleet tanker Deepak amongst others.
The Western Fleet, also known as the Sword Arm of the Indian Navy consists of many frontline warships including the Aircraft Carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat. Commissioned on 16 Nov 2013 at Severodovinsk, Russia, the 44,500 tons displacement INS Vikramaditya marks the coming of age for the navy and its commitment to safeguard the maritime interests of the country.
Press Release, June 18, 2014; Image: Indian Navy