INS Vikrant could have been dismantled in the scrap yard, but India’s first aircraft carrier will be remembered in a memorial unveiled at the traffic island near Mumbai’s Lion Gate.
Western Naval Command’s Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Vice Admiral SPS Cheema and Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta unveiled the memorial on Monday.
The sculpture has been designed and crafted by Arzan Khambatta, a sculptor who is known to bring metal to life.
Commodore (Retd) Medioma Bhada from Vikrant Memorial Forum, an ex-pilot of the carrier who conceived and donated parts of the ship for the sculpture, said the metal needed for the memorial was collected from the decommissioned vessel at the ship breaking yard.
The memorial is a living testimony of gratitude to a majestic ship from those who served on her, as she is the pioneer of Indian Navy's aviation arm. Speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral SPS Cheema said the country’s first aircraft carrier laid sound foundation for the Navy’s air operations.
The lessons learnt on her decks enabled the Navy to fluently integrate the recently inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, he added.
History of the ship
Commissioned in 1961 as INS Vikrant, Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier help bolster India’s naval power in the Indian Ocean region for 36 years until its decommissioning in 1997.
The ship was part of the operations at the Bay of Bengal in the 1971 Indo-Pak war and played a vital role in creation of Bangladesh. Her presence in the Bay of Bengal also enabled the use of carrier-based air power to effectively enforce contraband control promulgated in the country.