NEW DELHI, Sept 2: The Congress on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “taking credit for the commissioning of” India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and accused him of “hypocrisy” for not recognising the contributions made by earlier governments.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi congratulated the Indian Navy, the naval design bureau and Cochin Shipyard for the commissioning of the first indigenously designed and manufactured aircraft carrier, and termed it a significant step for the country’s maritime security.
Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh shared a video of former defence minister A K Antony launching INS Vikrant in August 2013 and said it just happens that the Modi government is in power when the aircraft carrier is being commissioned.
“The Modi government has nothing to do with this. The Modi government just happens to be in power when it is being commissioned. In fact, INS Vikrant was launched years ago by Mr A K Antony when he was the defence minister. It has taken 22 years to design, manufacture, test, launch and finally be commissioned today. All that the Modi government has done is commissioning of the vessel and he is taking credit for it,” Ramesh told PTI.
“So this is hypocrisy, which is typical of the current Prime Minister,” he said, adding that the credit goes to earlier governments, the credit goes to the Indian Navy and scientists, the engineers and the workers in the shipyard.
“It is an achievement that will add to the country’s strength. It is very typical of Mr Modi not to recognise the contributions made by earlier governments, of which he is the beneficiary,” the senior Congress leader added.
Sharing a video of Antony’s speech, Ramesh also tweeted, “then defence minister AK Antony launched India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on 12.08.2013. The PM commissioned it today. A self-reliant (Aatmanirbhar) India existed before 2014. All other Prime Ministers would have acknowledged continuity in governance.”
“India’s 1st indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant commissioned today is a collective effort of all governments since 1999. Will PM acknowledge?,” he tweeted while noting that let us also recall the original INS Vikrant that served us well in the 1971 war and saying that much reviled Krishna Menon played a key role in getting it from the UK.
Modi’s commissioning of INS Vikrant placed the country into a select league of countries with the domestic capability to develop such large vessels.
Ramesh said this is a tribute to the Indian Navy’s engineers, officers and the workers of Cochin Shipyard where this aircraft was manufactured.
“One of the problems in Mr Modi is that he does not recognise continuity in governance and that there was India before 2014. Self-reliance in defence production was established by Mr Krishna Menon when he was the defence minister of India in 1957 and Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister.
“It is the same self-reliant, Atmanirbhar defence production capability that Mr Modi’s government is privatising. There are several defence public sector units that have given India atmanirbharta in defence production,” he told PTI.
Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the induction of INS Vikrant, named after its predecessor that played a crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, into the Navy.
With Vikrant’s induction, India has joined a select club of nations such as the US, the UK, Russia, China and France in having niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.
The 262 m long and 62 m wide carrier displaces approximately 43000 T when fully loaded, having a maximum designed speed of 28 knots with an endurance of 7500 NM. Built at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore, it has state-of-the-art features and can operate an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft, including MiG-29K fighter jets, besides the domestically manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).
“Today, India has joined those countries in the world, which manufacture such a huge aircraft carrier with indigenous technology. Today INS Vikrant has filled the country with new confidence,” Modi said while addressing a large gathering ahead of the commissioning ceremony in Kochi.
Modi also said the warship was a testimony to Indian skills and talent. (PTI)