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DECEMBER 2013 ISSUE


Sea is Home
INS Vikramaditya finally sets sail for the Indian shores
 


INS Vikramaditya

Relief and joy reigned in the hearts of the Russian shipbuilders, arms sellers and political leaders following the commissioning of Project 11430 aircraft carrier — the painful programme that long hampered relations with strategic partner India through repeated delays and cost escalations, is finally over.

For the Indians, who attended the handover ceremony in Severodvinsk on November 16, the historical day could not be spoilt by the freezing cold weather. It was a proud moment for them as their ‘dream carrier’, INS Vikramaditya, finally set sail for home.

As early as 8:30 in the morning, seamen in parade uniform had gathered at the Sevmash main jetty along the ship’s starboard side, well before dignitaries and military leaders trooped in. Indian Navy’s Admiral Devender Kumar Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff, was one of the early ones to arrive. It was only after the arrival of Indian defence minister A.K. Antony, the centre of attention shifted to the carrier’s flight deck, where tents for dignitaries, invited guests and media had been erected. Nearly half-a-dozen speakers addressed the gathering that day, including Russian deputy prime minister (vice premier responsible for the military industrial complex) Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin. But all eyes and ears were set on India’s defence minister. The question uppermost on everybody’s mind was, ‘Is he happy’? Also, many wondered whether the Indian ministry of defence would continue its partnership with Russian suppliers or choose to go with other collaborators in the US and Europe who were desperate to have a share of the growing Indian military budget?
 
 
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