The commissioning of Vikrant, will be a Golden letter day for the entire nation, the Indian Navy and the indigenous shipbuilding industry. It is indeed a true testimony of the vision of Government of India for 'Atmanirbharta' and 'Swadeshikaran'.
Extract of Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade, Vice Chief of Naval Staff address during curtain raiser for commissioning of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier IAC (P71) 'Vikrant' on August 25, 2022.
It is an honour and privilege for me to welcome distinguished guests from Media for Curtain Raiser event on Commissioning of First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, IAC (P71) 'Vikrant'.
Construction of IAC has indeed been the most prestigious warship building project in the maritime history of India. It is also of great significance, that it was the maiden attempt of Indian Navy's inhouse Warship Design Bureau (erstwhile Directorate of Naval Design) to embark on this journey along with Cochin Shipyard Limited, who were also building a Warship for the first time. The design and construction of an Aircraft Carrier is undoubtedly unprecedented in terms of size and complexity.
This historical milestone has been achieved through synergy between Indian Navy, Cochin Shipyard Ltd and large number of industrial houses including Original Equipment Manufacturers, MSMEs and associated ancillary industries. It is indeed a proud moment for our great Nation, as with commissioning of Vikrant, India has joined the elite list of five sea-faring nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier of over 40000T capacity.
"Indigenisation over the period has been the key focus area for the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy as we have relentlessly pursued self- reliance through indigenization for last few decades. I am proud to say that 39 out of the 41 ships currently under construction, are being built at Indian shipyards".
It is also satisfying to note that despite many challenges associated with any new project of this magnitude which got further compounded due to various challenges and associated uncertainties due to pandemic during the last two years, the Navy and Cochin Shipyard have shown exemplary perseverance and synergy to ensure completion of this national project.
It is a proud moment for all our countrymen to see the results of tireless efforts of many years in achieving 'Atmanirbharta' in the field of warship design and construction. The indigenisation efforts have also led to development of ancillary industries, besides generation of employment opportunities and bolstering plough back effect on the economy. The construction of INS Vikrant has been a boon in terms of employment generation and infrastructure development not just only for the shipyard, but also for the MSMEs and ancillary industries. Over 500 Indian firms and 100 MSMEs have contributed towards realization of this National dream over the years, thereby generating employment opportunities for almost 15000 personnel across various segments including direct employment of 2000 personnel at CSL.
"The commissioning of Vikrant has been scheduled on September 02, 2022 with our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, consenting to be the Chief Guest to grace the historical occasion"
'Vikrant' would have products from 18 states and union-territories of India, with products coming from places such as Ambala, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Daman & Diu, Hyderabad, Howrah, Indore, Jalandhar, Kachch, Kota, Kanpur, New Delhi Panaji, Pune, Silvassa, Thiruvananthapuram, Vishakhapatnam, etc. Therefore, Vikrant stands as a symbol of India, wherein, everyone is bound together with one common purpose – keeping the Nishaan and Tiranga flying high! Thus, reminding us the power of how 'राष्ट्रिय एकता', 'एकजुटता' and 'कर्तव्य प्रमुखता' can propel the Nation forward.
During this journey, many technologies have been developed by the Indian Industry for use on IAC. These technologies can now be used by industries in other fields as well. A major spin off of this is the development and production of indigenous warship grade steel DMR 249A and DMR 249B through a partnership between Indian Navy, DRDO and Steel Authority of India Limited, which are being extensively used for construction of all warships being built in India. Some other technologies include explosion proof Automatic Emergency Lamps, Radio Frequency transparent shielding used for Whip Aerials etc. Entire cabling of the Aircraft Carrier has been through Indigenous sources. This is dual use technology and has immense usage in Civil world.
Indigenisation over the period has been the key focus area for the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy as we have relentlessly pursued self- reliance through indigenization for last few decades. I am proud to say that 39 out of the 41 ships currently under construction, are being built at Indian shipyards. This aptly reflects the Navy's approach rooted in "विरासत पर गर्व" propelling the Nation's ambitious vision for shipbuilding in India forward. With the ongoing indigenisation efforts of Government of India, I foresee an enhanced partnership between the Navy, Shipyards – both public and private, Indian industry and DRDO.
Our force levels have grown significantly over the years and I believe that we must be fully prepared to counter any challenge not only to our sovereignty and territorial integrity but even more significantly to our economic interests. INS Vikrant would be another formidable front-line asset in Indian Navy's ability to maintain credible presence in the maritime domain and protect our maritime interests. The capabilities of Vikrant especially Mobility, Resilience, Integral Air power and Reach would be a force-multiplier across all domains.
It fills my heart with pride that the commissioning of INS Vikrant is coinciding with the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' and 'Swarnim Vijay Varsh' celebrations. This ship not only showcases our resolve for Self-Reliance reflecting resilience and internal strength but is also one of the most apt tribute to our independence freedom fighters and fearless soldiers during the 1971 Bangladesh war.
At this historic moment, I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of crew of ex-Vikrant, the illustrious predecessor after which Indigenous Aircraft Carrier will be christened and which had played a monumental role during the 1971 war to liberate Bangladesh. I would like to take this opportunity to convey that, the commissioning of Vikrant has been scheduled on September 02, 2022 with our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, consenting to be the Chief Guest to grace the historical occasion.
I would also like to bring out that both Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited have acquired expertise & skill sets and have developed requisite infrastructure while designing and building "Vikrant". The indigenous ecosystem has been created and the stage is well set to take next step forward to build next Aircraft Carrier indigenously so as to ensure that expertise gained by us are utilised to the maximum in times to come.
Vikrant, showcases India's 'can do' approach and an increasing belief and confidence in indigenous products. It will continue to remind us to rise to our true stature of विकसित भारत.