Modi to commission first Indian-built aircraft carrier

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission India’s first home-grown aircraft carrier today. Officially dubbed IAC-1 INS Vikrant, its release

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sitting in a fighter pilot sea

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission India’s first home-grown aircraft carrier today as the South Asian country seeks to expand its naval presence – Photo: NDTV

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will commission India’s first home-grown aircraft carrier today.

Officially dubbed IAC-1 INS Vikrant, its release will propel India into a select group of countries that will continue to manufacture warships capable of exceeding a displacement worth 40,000 tons. The commission is expected to boost India’s practical security capabilities at sea, bolstering the country’s position at the westernmost point of the Indo-Pacific region and its place in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

The carrier is expected to hold up to 1600 crew members and 30 helicopters and aircraft, operating in tandem with India’s anti-missile naval decoy system, Kavach. However, a series of trials are required before its expected release next year—ten years after its initial conception.

In the medium-to-long-term, expect India’s bid to establish its own blue-water navy to spur investment into a second indigenous aircraft carrier, giving the navy three carriers in total. In the short-to-medium term, China’s naval military build-up may be insufficient to block India’s advances in the South China Sea. While China aims to produce four carriers by the end of this year, its Type 003 aircraft carrier has yet to be declared operational amid a slow-down in industry due to the government’s zero-Covid policy.