India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, currently being built at the Cochin Shipyard Limited, is likely to be based at Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command to add to its effectiveness when it is commissioned, a top military commander said on Wednesday.
“In tandem with the growth of the Indian economy, I see the Eastern Fleet will be more capable. We should be having more capable assets. Hopefully, the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) will be based in Visakhapatnam and it should be operating as part of the Eastern Fleet in 2023, if all goes well,” its Flag Officer Commanding (FOCEF), Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi told reporters here.
The interaction aboard the indigenously-built INS Sumeda partol vessel took place as part of the ongoing Navy Week celebrations.
“We should take pride that India is one five countries (the others being the US, the UK, France and Russia) with the capability to design and build an aircraft carrier. Its construction is on course. We should start sea trials by 2020,” Tripathi said.
He said Indian Navy’s aim is to secure national interests, provide maritime, coastal and offshore security and also ensure safe and secured seas by assisting friendly countries in any contingency.
According to Tripathi, the Eastern Fleet has grown in strength and capability over the years and now operates some of the most modern warships, which include the Shivalik class stealth frigates and the Kamorta class anti-submarine corvettes.
Asked about the presence of the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean Region and China’s military rise, he said: “Every country has got a right to do what is required for its national security. We respect all that what has been done by any countries to secure their national interest. We are monitoring the presence of all that what is happening in our area.”
INS Sumeda and the corvette INS Kirch are presently docked here as part of the ongoing Navy Day celebrations.