Commissioning INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier and the largest ship ever built in the country’s maritime history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the achievement is a “unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant”.

The Prime Minister congratulated every person associated with the dream for achieving the feat which makes India join the club of countries that have indigenous aircraft carriers and said Vikrant has the capacity of two football grounds, as well as the cables used in the ship, can cover “Kochi to Kashi”.

“If the goals are long, the journeys are long, the ocean and the challenges are endless, then India’s answer is Vikrant. The incomparable nectar of the elixir of freedom festival is Vikrant. Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant,” said the prime minister.

The PM also said that the steel used on INS Vikrant is made in India and that the cables used in the ship “can stretch from Kochi to Kashi”.

“INS Vikrant is as big as two football grounds. The electricity it can produce can illuminate 5,000 houses,” PM said.

Calling INS Vikrant a floating airfield and a floating town, PM said: “Vikrant is large and grand, Vikrant is distinct, Vikrant is special. Vikrant is not just a warship, it is the evidence of the hard work, talent, impact and commitment of India of the 21st century.”

“INS Vikrant is an example of the government’s thrust to making India’s defence sector self-reliant,” he added.

Dedicating INS Vikrant to Chhatrapati Shivaji, PM Modi reiterated his Independence Day speech and said no matter how difficult the goal is, no matter how big the challenges are, when India makes up its mind no goal is impossible to achieve.

At the event, the PM said “every Indian is witnessing the sunrise of a new future here on the coast of Kerala, and that the event being held on INS Vikrant is a tribute to India’s rising spirits on the world horizon”.

While commissioning INS Vikrant, PM Modi said, “Today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology. Today, INS Vikrant has filled the nation with new confidence and created a new confidence in the country”.

Every part of INS Vikrant has its own merits, a strength, a development journey of its own, said the PM, adding “it is a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous resources and indigenous skills.”

“Chhatrapati Veer Shivaji Maharaj built such a navy on the strength of this sea power, which kept the enemies sleepy. When the British came to India, they used to be intimidated by the power of Indian ships and trade through them,” mentioned PM Modi at the event.

“So they decided to break the back of India’s maritime power. History is the witness to how strict restrictions were imposed on Indian ships and merchants by enacting a law in the British Parliament at that time,” he said.

Designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Vikrant has been built with state-of-the-art automation features and is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is named after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier which had played a vital role in the 1971 war. It has a large number of indigenous equipment and machinery, involving major industrial houses in the country as well as over 100 MSMEs.

With the commissioning of Vikrant, India now has two operational Aircraft Carriers bolstering the maritime security of the nation.

INS Vikrant, built at a cost of around Rs 20,000 crore, successfully completed the fourth and final phase of the sea trials last month. With the construction of ‘Vikrant’, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.

The ship has over 2,300 compartments, designed for a crew of around 1,700 people, including specialised cabins to accommodate women officers.

Vikrant has a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles. The aircraft carrier is 262 metres long, 62 metres wide and it has a height of 59 metres. Its keel was laid in 2009.