Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated India’s largest warship INS Vikramaditya to the nation and pitched for making the country self-reliant in manufacturing defence equipment, shedding dependence on imports.
In his first outing after taking charge as Prime Minister, he addressed the naval personnel onboard the ship off the Goa coast, calling the addition of the warship to the force as a ‘historic’ step.
‘It is an important day for our nation. It is a golden day in Indian Navy’s history. For me, it is a matter of pride and happiness that INS Vikramaditya is joining the Navy. It is a historic step,’ he said.
Stressing on the need for self-reliance in defence equipment manufacturing, he said, ‘We need to give immense importance to latest technology. This will help the nation. Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self sufficient. Why can’t we send our defence equipment to other nations.’
The Prime Minister also promised to set up a War Memorial for those who sacrificed their lives for the country.
He said this government has come with a determination and was committed to implement the ‘One Rank, One pension’ scheme for defence personnel.
‘Our government has the potential to match anyone in the world and the reason for this is the capability of our soldiers who give us the strength to do so,’ he said in his address, adding that the country intends to move forward in the same manner, without lowering its eyes.
He also called for setting up a Naval NCC network across the country that could prepare a dedicated force of soldiers which could help the Navy emerge as a big force in the coming times.
Arriving on board the warship in a Sea King chopper, the Prime Minister was given the ceremonial guard of honour by the Navy and was briefed about the warship. He also sat in a MIG 29 aircraft and had a feel of the combat fighter on the ship.
The Prime Minister spent a few hours on board the 44,500-tonne warship, his first visit to any defence facility.