Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier — INS Vikrant — the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history, calling it an example of the government’s thrust to making India’s defence sector self-reliant.

“With Vikrant India joins select group of nations who can indigenously make aircraft carriers. INS Vikrant not a mere war machine but proof of India’s skill and talent. It is special, different,” Modi said. With this, India joins a select group of nations which can design and build aircraft carriers. The group, which India joined today, includes the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France.

With this new addition, India will have two aircraft carriers and the Navy wishes to add one more naval power projector to defend the country on all three sides — Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

Currently, the United States operates 11 aircraft carriers, India, China, Italy, the United Kingdom operate two each and Russia, France and Spain have one each.

The new aircraft carrier, which houses state-of-the-art automation features, was built at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore at the Cochin Shipyard.

“INS Vikrant is a floating airfield, a floating town. Power generated in it can light up 5,000 houses,” Modi observed.

“No matter how difficult the goal is, no matter how big the challenges are, when Bharat decides, no goal is impossible to achieve,” Modi said.

Unveiling the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), Modi said the country has shed its colonial past with the new Naval ensign.

“Till today Indian Naval flags carried a sign of slavery which has been replaced with a new one inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” Modi said.