Narendra Modi dedicates largest warship INS Vikramaditya to nation, calls for self-reliance
On Board Aircraft Carrier: Russia-made India’s largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was on Saturday dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who pitched for making the country self-reliant in manufacturing defence equipment and even capable of exports also.
In his first outing after taking charge as Prime Minister about three weeks back, he travelled on the warship in the Arabian Sea and addressed the naval personnel onboard, calling the addition of INS Vikramaditya as a “historic” step and a “new milestone in our strategic capability”.
Modi, who was briefed by the top Naval officers and given an air power demonstration, underlined that national security and defence forces are priority areas for his government.
“The Vikramaditya is being dedicated to the nation and a strong step has been taken in strengthening India’s security…. I was told that 1680 troops and several aircraft can be deployed on this carrier and this is a new milestone in our strategic capability,” he said while addressing the jawans on board the 44,500 tonnes warship.
He said while several promises have been made in the past, his government has come with “both promises and intention to fulfil them”.
Referring to India’s tag of being the largest importer of defence equipment, Modi said the situation has to be changed.
“We have slowly entered the field of building strategic systems. For a country like India to depend on others and imports weapon for security even so many years of independence, we have to get rid of this situation,” he said.
“Not only should we become self-reliant, we also should provide them (defence equipment) to small countries. The small countries should feel secure that they have India-produced defence equipment,” Modi said.
Taking a dig at the UPA, the Prime Minister said, “The decisions taken by this government have been the strong desire of our veterans and I don’t know why these important task was not accomplished by our predecessors.
“The Vikramaditya is being dedicated to the nation and a strong step has been taken in strengthening India’s security… This is a new milestone in our strategic capability.”
Commenting on country’s tag of being the largest importer of weapon systms, he said, “We have slowly entered the field of building strategic systems. For a country like India to depend on others and import weapons for security even so many years of independence, we have to get rid of this situation.”
India imports over 65 per cent of its defence systems to meet its requirements and to promote indigenous manufacturing, the government has initiated several measures such as further opening up of the FDI in defence sector.
“Not only we become self reliant, we also provide them to small countries. The small countries shoud feel secure that the Indian produced defence equipment are with them,” he said.
11 naval warships including the aircraft carrier INS Virat, Russian-origin Talwar class, indigenously-built Delhi class destroyers also saluted the Prime Minister on his maiden sea voyage.
The Prime Minister credited Maratha ruler Shivaji for the beginning of the navies in human history and said the maritime force helps in protecting the trade interests of the nation.
Watch: PM Narendra Modi aboard India’s biggest ship, INS Vikramaditya; inspects Navy prowess