Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India's biggest warship INS Vikramaditya on Saturday in Goa among much naval fanfare and media coverage. He was given a ceremonial guard of honour in the presence of Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan.
INS Vikramaditya was acquired from Russia at a cost of ₹15,000 crore last November. The ship is India's second aircraft carrier after INS Virat, and is considered to be a sign of a boost in Indo-Russian defence partnership.
Additionally, on 18 June, Russia's deputy Prime Minister Dmutry Rogozin is expected to meet with the Modi government in Delhi according The Economic Times. The report stated that INS Vikramaditya was received by former Defence Minister AK Antony last year after a long delay and much bargaining.
Negotiations over acquiring the warship, formerly known as Admiral Gorshkov, had begun long back in 1994. A good amount of bargaining on the cost of the ship went into the negotiations, thus delaying the acquisition.
The acquisition of INS Vikramaditya is also said to have boosted the morale of the Indian Navy, which had seen a series of mishaps last year that claimed the lives of several of its personnel.
While this warship strengthened Indo-Russian ties, The United States made an offer of defence technologies to India, with a Pentagon official making an encouraging press statement.
"We have a number of offers on the table for India. There's a groundbreaking offer to share in the next generation of the Javelin missile, co-production and co-development," PTI quoted Frank Kendall, Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
About INS Vikramaditya:
- INS Vikramaditya is India's biggest warship and a Kiev-class aircraft carrier that weighs 44,500 tonne. It has an overall length of 284 metres and a beam of a maximum 60 metres.
- The ship has 22 decks and can accommodate 1,600 personnel on board for a good 45 days at sea.
- It can carry up to 8,000 tonne of load and can cover 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 kilometres). It can achieve a top speed of 30 knots per hour.
- With INS Vikramaditya, which was inducted into service last November, India has become the only country in Asia to have two such aircraft carriers. China launched its debut aircraft carrier last year.
- The warship has the ability to carry 30 aircraft, including aircraft such as the MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, and surveillance helicopters.
- The ship is named after an emperor of Ujjain, Vikramaditya, who is said to have ruled long Before Christ (BC).