INS Vikramaditya inducted into the Indian Navy
The long-delayed and much-awaited USD 2.3 billion aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was on Saturday inducted into the Indian Navy here in a strategic boost to India’s maritime warfare capabilities.
The mammoth 44,500-tonne warship was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Sevmash Shipyard in this northern Arctic port at a handing over ceremony attended by Defence Minister A K Antony and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and senior government and naval officials of the two countries.
The Russian flag on the vessel was lowered and the flag of the Indian Navy was raised in its place. In a traditional Indian ritual, a coconut was broken against the ship,s side.
The commissioning papers were signed by deputy director of Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Igor Sevastyanov and the ship’s captain Suraj Berry, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The warship was first scheduled to be delivered in 2008, but the deadline was repeatedly postponed over the period.
The carrier will be escorted to India on a near two-month voyage by a group of warships to secure a safe sail to its base at Karwar on the Arabian Sea coast.
INS Vikramaditya is a Kiev class aircraft carrier which was commissioned by Russian Navy in 1987 under the name Baku. The warship, previously known as the Admiral Gorshkov, is a Project 1143.4 or modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier commissioned by the Soviet Navy in 1987 and decommissioned in 1996 as it was too expensive to operate on a post-Soviet era budget.