INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier to ever grace the arsenal of the Indian Navy was commissioned to the Indian service in 1961 and has played a major role in glorifying the military history of the country.
India has a rich and magnificent maritime history. The richness of the Indian land is defined not only by the culture and tradition of the country but also because of its adverse and diversified past. INS Vikrant is one such name that stands out every time whenever a list of the Indian naval ships is recounted. INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier to ever grace the arsenal of the Indian Navy was commissioned to the Indian service in 1961 and has played a major role in glorifying the military history of the country.
True to its name, INS Vikrant is popularly known for the destruction it caused to the Pakistani Navy ships stationed in the harbours of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The aircraft was often known for the ‘nightmares’ it gave to our neighbouring country during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
The war history of INS Vikrant:
The 700-ft long INS Vikrant, built by Britain in 1943 and bought by the Indian Navy in 1957, has been considered an icon mainly because of its role in the Liberation of Bangladesh War of 1971. INS Vikrant was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1961, to formally join the Navy fleet in the Bombay Harbour.
During 1965, when war broke out between India and Pakistan, the carrier was being refitted in Mumbai and was not allowed to leave its moorings until the end of the conflict. The true test of INS Vikrant however came during the 1971 war which was fought in order to liberate the Bangladeshi (then East Pakistan) people from the atrocities caused to them by their own people of West Pakistan.
INS Vikrant played a significant role in the 1971 war which saw the birth of Bangladesh and therefore is often treated as a symbol of India’s victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was in 1971 when Vikrant saw its first combat operations, almost after a decade since it was bought by India. Vikrant played a decisive role in the victory of the Indian Armed forces that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
The aircraft carrier launched a series of air raids on East Pakistan harbours during 1971 and ensured that Pakistani ships could not break into the Indian naval blockade, which led to a major step towards victory for India. Also, it should be noted that throughout the fight, Vikrant did not lose any of its aircraft.
After 36 years of its service, INS Vikrant was decommissioned in the year 1997 but wasn’t immediately ditched. It served as a maritime museum till 2004 and since then, a number of sharp legal battles were fought for saving INS Vikrant, even in the Supreme Court as well. However, the mighty INS Vikrant was wrecked at Darukhana ship breaking yard in Mumbai, after the plans to convert the aircraft into a maritime museum failed to materialise.
INS Vikrant to be inducted in 2022:
The Indian Navy’s iconic former warship INS Vikrant took rebirth in the Cochin Shipyard and may be inducted into the Indian Navy sometime in 2022. The trials of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier are most likely to get over by 2021 and it will be inducted into Eastern Naval Command (ENC) probably by the end of 2022.
The presence of the indigenously built aircraft carrier will make India a formidable force in the Indo-Pacific region. Also, the Indian Navy is on a verge of becoming a fearsome blue water force by tuning well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ or ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ aspiration.