World Bulletin/News Desk
In his first visit outside Delhi after becoming India’s prime minister last month, Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the country’s largest warship called ‘INS Vikramaditya’ off the west coast in the Arabian sea.
“It’s a moment of pride for me to understand the functioning (of the ship) and to know its power,” Modi said while addressing the officers onboard INS Vikramaditya.
“Feel extremely delighted to have dedicated INS Vikramaditya to the Nation,” Modi wrote on his Twitter account.
He said India must be “self-sufficient” in defense industry, asking “Why should we import defence equipment?”
India is the world’s biggest buyer of arms, importing nearly three times as many weapons as its regional competitors China and Pakistan, according to a report released by Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute earlier this year.
INS Vikramaditya, one of the newest acquisitions of the Indian Navy, was procured from Russia and commissioned in November 2013 by then Defense Minister A.K. Antony.
Modi, who flew to the western coastal state of Goa on Saturday morning, sat in the cockpit of fighter jet MiG-29 K and spoke with the crew onboard.
India’s biggest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has a length of 284 metres and it is 20 storeys tall with 1,600 personnel onboard. The Russian-made warship has the ability to carry 30 aircrafts.
Russia remains the largest supplier of arms to India. From 2009 to 2013, Russia accounted for 75 percent of all imports according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The first visit by the premier to a military facility is considered a significant step towards highlighting India’s growing clout in South Asia.
Last Mod: 14 Haziran 2014, 15:52