2nd LD Writethru: Indian PM inducts largest warship carrier into Navy
NEW DELHI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday inducted the country's largest aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, into the Indian Navy and dedicated it to the nation, after visiting the warship in the Arabian Sea off the coast of the western state of Goa.
"It's a moment of pride for me to understand the functioning ( on the ship) and know its power. Why should we import defense equipment? We must be self-sufficient," he said, while addressing naval officials on board the aircraft carrier, in his first defense outing after assuming office last month.
Local TV channels showed footage of the Prime Minister sitting in the cockpit of a Russia-made MiG29K fighter jet and interacting with the crew on board.
Modi also witnessed take-off and arrestor wire landing operations and high-speed, low-level operations of the MiG29K integral fighters on board the flight deck of INS Vikramaditya.
With a capacity to carry 1,600 personnel on board, the 44,500- tonne INS Vikramaditya, procured from Russia, has the ability to accommodate 30 aircraft, including an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, and Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.
The Indian Navy has a strength of 58,350 personnel and a large operational fleet consisting of two aircraft carriers, one amphibious transport dock, nine Landing ship tanks, eight destroyers, 15 frigates, one nuclear-powered attack submarine and various auxiliary vessels.
But in last year alone, the Indian Navy suffered nearly 10 mishaps involving naval assets, which also led to the resignation of then naval chief Admiral D.K. Joshi in February this year.