Indian Defence Minister A.K.Antony has commissioned the completely refurbished 44,500 tonne carrier Admiral Gorshkov into the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya at an impressive ceremony held at sub zero temperature in the Sevmash Shipyard of Severodvinsk in Russia.
Mr. Antony said INS Vikramaditya would significantly enhance the reach and capability of the Indian Navy. “The induction of ‘Vikramaditya’ with its integral MiG29K fighters and Kamov-31 helicopters, not only reinforces (India’s) central policy, but also adds a new dimension to our Navy’s operational capabilities. The meaning of ‘Vikramaditya’, which literally translates into “Strong as the Sun” is complemented by the Ship’s motto –“Strike Far, Strike Sure,” the minister said.
Calling it a Red Letter Day in the history of India-Russia cooperation, Mr. Antony said the relationship remains a matter of the highest priority for both nations for our mutual benefit and as a factor of global peace and stability.
Describing the Project 11430 as a unique one, he said, it was a challenging task for both the Russian and the Indian sides and congratulated the entire team for converting the ‘Dream Project’ into a reality. He expressed confidence that all possible support would be extended by Russia to ensure that the ship serves India effectively for the duration of its expected operational life cycle.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi said the INS Vikramaditya will bridge the time-gap that may come up between the INS Viraat and the Indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. It will also help achieving India’s medium term goal of operating two aircraft carriers.
A large number of dignitaries including the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Mr Dmitry Rogozin and Defence Minister Mr Shoigu, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi, the Indian Ambassador to Russia Mr. Ajay Malhotra, the Defence Secretary Mr. RK Mathur, the DG Acquisition Mr. SB Agnihotri were present on the occasion. Mr Rogozin said INS Vikramaditya symbolises the close friendship between India and Russia and expressed confidence that it will grow in the coming years.