India launches indigenous aircraft carrier
India launched its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, a landmark moment in the $5 billion project that seeks to promote the country’s power and check the rising influence of China.
When the INS Vikrant comes into full service in 2018, India will become the fifth nation to have designed and built its own aircraft carrier, pushing ahead of China to join an elite club that includes Britain, France, Russia and the United States.
“It’s a remarkable milestone,” Defence Minister AK Antony said as he stood in front of the giant grey hull of the ship at a ceremony in Kochi. “It marks just a first step in a long journey but at the same time an important one,” Antony added.
The ship, which will be fitted with weaponry and machinery and then tested over the next four years, is a major advance for a country competing for influence in Asia, analysts say.