Goa: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited India’s largest warship, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, marking his first outing to a military facility after assuming office last month. While on the ship, that is sailing off the Goa coast in the Arabian Sea, he also sat in the cockpit of a MiG-29 K fighter jet and interacted with the crew on board.Â
“It’s a moment of pride for me to understand the functioning (on the ship) and know its power,” the PM said while addressing the officers. “Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self-sufficient,” he added.
Modi, on his trip did not waste any time but tweeted: We dream of an India that is self-sufficient in producing defence equipment using the latest technology.
Procured from Russia, INS Vikramaditya is one of the newest acquisitions of the Indian Navy and the most powerful symbol of its military reach. It was commissioned last November by then Defence Minister A K Antony at Russia’s Sevmash shipyard.
During his “day at sea” with the Western Naval Command fleet, the PM witnessed air power demonstration by various naval aircraft, including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers, P-8I long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, TU 142M, IL 38 SD, Dorniers, Kamov and Sea King helicopters.
Modi watched high-speed manoeuvres by the western fleet ships, including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi-class destroyers and Talwar-class frigates. He also witnessed take-off and arrestor wire landing operations and high-speed low-level operations of the MiG 29K integral fighters on board the flight deck of INS Vikramaditya.
INS Vikramaditya has an overall length of 284 metres and a beam of 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together. Standing about 20 storeys tall from keel to the highest point, the vessel has 22 decks. It has over 1,600 personnel on board.
The warship has the ability to carry 30 aircraft, including an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, and Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.