India marks 'milestone' with launch of its own aircraft carrier
KOCHI, India (AFP) - India launched its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier on Monday, a landmark moment in the US$5 billion (S$6.3 billion) project that seeks to project the country's power and check the rising influence of China.
When the INS Vikrant comes into full service in 2018, India will become the fifth nation to have designed and built its own aircraft carrier, pushing ahead of China to join an elite club that includes Britain, France, Russia and the United States.
"It's a remarkable milestone," Defence Minister A.K. Antony said as he stood in front of the giant grey hull of the ship at a ceremony in the southern city of Kochi.
"It marks just a first step in a long journey but at the same time an important one."