Several foreign envoys, who attended the commissioning ceremony of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi on Friday, have acknowledged the country’s rise as a global power.
Hailing India’s growing defence manufacturing prowess, the foreign ambassadors also committed to making stronger partnerships with New Delhi keeping in mind the fast-changing geostrategic situation as well as security concerns in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region.
Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador to India, highlighted not only the friendship between the two nations which has remained intact ‘despite current difficulties and tensions in the world’ but also that the warship has been developed with Russia’s participation.
‘Participated today in the commissioning of INS Vikrant by the Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s first swadeshi aircraft carrier. A glorious moment for the country and its people. Russia is proud to be part of it. Jai Vikrant! Shano varuna!’ tweeted Alipov.
The seasoned diplomat posted several photographs of the event held at the Cochin Shipyard before proceeding to visit Cochin University of Science and Technology to hold a discussion on the prospects of Russia-India collaboration in education and scientific research.
‘It’s a proud moment for India that they built an indigenous major aircraft carrier. India is moving towards self-reliance and has shown that it’s moving fastly towards becoming a major global power. The world needs super strong India,’ the Russian Ambassador told ANI later.
French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain congratulated India and said that Paris is already looking forward to seeing INS Vikrant sail together with the French Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indo-Pacific.
‘Congratulations, India, on commissioning IAC Vikrant and joining the club of nations capable of manufacturing aircraft carriers! France looks forward to seeing INS Vikrant sail together with Charles de Gaulle carrier in our joint actions in the Indo Pacific,’ tweeted Lenain.
Having already vowed to make the India-France strategic partnership ‘a force for global good’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron have made it a point to extend the operational cooperation between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Both India and France have also been focused on partnering more strongly in the field of co-designing, co-development, and co-production of different defence equipment in India.
Commenting on a video of Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) being test-fired from INS Vikramaditya, the Israeli embassy in India congratulated India on the commissioning of ‘Made-in-India INS Vikrant’ and said that it was ‘excited to see the productive outcome’ of India-Israel cooperation in the defence sector.
‘Congratulations to our Indian brothers. Job well done! A small glimpse at India-Israel defence cooperation. United we will prevail,’ tweeted Naor Gilon, the Ambassador of Israel to India.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), in collaboration with the Indian industry comprising of private and public sectors including MSMEs, have jointly developed the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM), a state-of-the-art missile system against aerial threats like fighter aircraft, UAVs, guided and unguided munitions and cruise missiles.
Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India, tweeted a video of him from the flight deck of INS Vikrant and spotlighted that both India and the United Kingdom believe in the importance of the freedom of the high seas.
Our growing interactions are a testimony to the shared commitment to a rules-based international system, a belief in the values of open trade, and the importance of the freedom of the high seas – a right conveyed on all nations.
‘Honoured to be present at the commissioning of INS Vikrant by Narendra Modi – a great day for Indian Navy and for open and free seas,’ tweeted Ellis.
Last October, as the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) led by HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into the Bay of Bengal in a powerful demonstration of the UK-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the British High Commissioner mentioned that both the Indian and the Royal Navy are blue-water, multi-carrier navies, which places them in a very exclusive club.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell also tweeted about his experience of seeing INS Vikrant closely in Kochi today.