The Indian Navy has officially commissioned its first Vikrant-class indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard (CSL) in Kerala, India.

INS Vikrant was commissioned by Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi during a ceremony.

It was attended by Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh, Navy Chief of Naval Staff admiral R Hari Kumar and other senior civil and military officials.

Modi said: “Today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology.”

During the commissioning event, the PM also unveiled India’s new naval ensign, dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Designed by Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau, INS Vikrant is 262.5m-long and 61.6m-wide warship constructed by CSL in India.

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The vessel was delivered to the Indian Navy in July this year after undergoing several sea trials to validate its performance.

The commissioning of IAC has further boosted the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.

Armed with latest equipment and systems, the Vikrant-class aircraft carrier will provide enhanced maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.

INS Vikrant can operate an air wing of 30 aircraft such as MH-60R multi-role helicopters, MiG-29K fighter aircraft and Kamov 31.

Rajnath Singh said: “We believe in a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

“Our efforts in this regard are guided by ‘SAGAR’, Security and Growth for All in the Region, as envisioned by PM.”

“As India is moving rapidly towards a $5tn economy, our share in global trade will increase in coming times.

“If share will increase, a large part of it will inevitably be through maritime routes. In such a situation, Vikrant will prove to be crucial to safeguard our security and economic interests.”