New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 'Vikrant' under the advanced stage of construction at Cochin Shipyard Ltd in Kochi on Sunday.

During his visit, Naidu was briefed on the uniqueness of the project and the progress of construction during the visit. He was also briefed about efforts being made towards ship's delivery and commissioning prior to August 2022 to commemorate 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'.

Naidu was appreciative of the country's capability in designing and constructing an Aircraft Carrier and lauded it as a shining example of its quest for 'Atmanirbharta' or self-reliant India.

The Vice President was also briefed about the contribution of the indigenous technologies and capabilities during the walk-around of the carrier and he expressed satisfaction and appreciated the efforts of the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard towards strengthening the Indigenous warship building capabilities.

Indian Navy is a formidable resident maritime power in the Indian Ocean Region, and the Aircraft Carrier Battle Group remains central to its concept of operations. Vikrant will provide the Indian Navy with the requisite flexibility, mobility, reach and combat power in pursuance of national interests and also serve as a strong catalyst for peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region. An Aircraft Carrier also holds a position of strategic and technological eminence and is rightly considered the pinnacle in the domain of warship design and construction. With the construction of an Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, India will enter into a select band of countries having niche indigenous capability for designing and building an Aircraft Carrier.

The Indian shipbuilding industry has come a long way since the 1960s with the IAC Vikrant being the hallmark of India's indigenous industrial capability. The indigenous content in the construction of IAC is close to 76 per cent of the overall project cost of Rs 19341 Crores. The ship has a large number of indigenous materials such as steel, besides other equipment and systems manufactured by Indian industrial houses and about 100 MSMEs. The indigenous construction of the carrier has generated employment opportunities not only within the shipyard but also for many other industries supporting the project externally. Close to 2000 shipyard and 13000 non-yard personnel have been employed per annum towards the construction of IAC.

During the visit, Naidu was accompanied by the Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief of Staff Southern Naval Command Rear Admiral Antony George, NM, VSM, CMD Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) Shri Madhu S Nair, and other senior officials of Navy and CSL.

Later, the Vice President visited Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory as part of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' and unveiled Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial. He also laid the foundation stone of a Towed Array Integration Facility and handed over an Automated Sonar Trainer to the Navy.

Naidu is on a three-day visit to Kerala and arrived at Kochi Naval airport on Sunday morning, after his tour of Lakshadweep. Earlier on the day, a ceremonial 100 men guard was paraded at INS Garuda in honour of the Vice President.