Panaji: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday dedicated to the nation INS Vikramaditya, India's largest and most powerful aircraft carrier, marking his first visit to a military facility after assuming office last month. He described it as a "giant step in India's naval prowess".
"Addition of INS Vikramaditya will add tremendous might to our navy," the prime minister said.
The 44,500-tonne INS Vikramaditya, procured from Russia, is one of the newest acquisitions of the Indian Navy and the most powerful symbol of its military reach. It was commissioned by then defence minister A.K. Antony last November at Russia's Sevmash shipyard.
Dressed in his trademark kurta churidar and a blue waist coat, Modi said that we dream of an India that is self-sufficient in manufacturing defence equipment using the latest technology.
Modi said: "One of the primary reason India is capable of walking hand in hand with world forces is the Indian Navy and soldiers. INS Vikramaditya is a giant step in India's naval prowess."
He called it an "important day for our nation" and added: "We need to give immense importance to latest technology. This will help the nation."
He also emphasised that India must be "self-sufficient" in manufacturing defence equipment.
"Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self-sufficient. Why can't we send our defence equipment to other nations," Modi said during his "Day at sea".
Modi was accompanied by navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan and was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour.
A smiling Modi waved his naval cap from the cockpit of the MiG-29 K during his several minute long stint in the pilot's seat of one of India's most advanced fighter jets.
The carrier can carry 30 aircraft while at sea.
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.
With over 1,600 personnel on board, Vikramaditya is literally a floating city. Linked to the personnel on board is mammoth logistics requirement - nearly 100,000 eggs, 20,000 litres of milk and 16 tonnes of rice, to name just a few, per month.