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“We were honored to be present”: British envoy in charge of INS Vikrant

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High Commissioner Alex Ellis said it was a “great day” for the Indian Navy and for open and free seas.


As Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned its first indigenously built aircraft carrier on Friday, the Indian Navy adopted a new flag, shedding the last remnants of colonial icons, and among those present was the British High Commissioner to India.

“Honored to be in the #INSVikrant commissioning ceremony by @narendramodi – great day for indianavy, open and free seas,” High Commissioner Alex Ellis tweeted, accompanied by a video message from the flight deck of the giant aircraft carrier.

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After 17 years of construction and testing, Prime Minister Modi commissioned the INS Vikrant – India’s second-largest naval aircraft carrier and largest warship ever – at the state-run shipyard, underlining his government’s efforts to boost domestic production to supply a deployed army. On two controversial borders.

The Indian Navy also unveiled a new insignia, abandoning the colonial era St. George’s Cross, and adopting a design honoring Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha kingdom who had a navy.

“Even today the Indian Navy flags have been a sign of slavery, which has been replaced by a new one inspired by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Prime Minister Modi said, before commissioning INS Vikrant.

“Today, India has joined those countries in the world that can manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier using indigenous technology,” Prime Minister Modi said. “It is a symbol of indigenous potential, local resources and local skills.”

Designed to accommodate a crew of about 1,600 and a fleet of 30 aircraft, the Vikrant will be based on a Russian-designed MIG-29K aircraft already in service from another Indian carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which India purchased from Russia.

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Vikrant will add significantly to India’s naval capabilities, allowing the Navy to operate an aircraft carrier on each coast, along with its 10 destroyers, 12 frigates, and 20 cruisers.

“Security concerns in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region have long been ignored,” Prime Minister Modi said. But this region is today a major defense priority for our country.”

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