PM Modi to reveal new naval flag on Fridaytext_fields
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said that the country is ready to unfurl a new naval flag to retire the British colonial symbol and mark the formal debut of India's first locally built aircraft carrier.
The new design will be revealed on Friday in Kerala at the commissioning of the Vikrant. The Modi-led government has described the carrier as "a significant step" for military self-reliance, reported AFP.
A statement from the Prime Minister's office said that the PM will unveil the new naval ensign during the event, doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage.
The current design, from the colonised days of the country, features the cross of Saint George, the national flag of England, and a legacy from India's nine decades as a crown dependency. The cross of Saint George has been part of the Indian naval ensign since 1928. When the BJP came to power between 2002-2004, the cross was replaced with a blue Indian Navy crest. It was removed due to a lack of visibility against the sky and the ocean.
The Vikrant will enter service alongside a smaller aircraft carrier which is bought second-hand from Russia. The Centre has made clear its intention to wean the country off its dependency on foreign military purchases and build a domestic defence hardware industry.
New Delhi has been concerned about the strategic challenge posed by China's increasing presence in the Indian Ocean. After a Chinese research vessel docked in Sri Lanka was accused of spying activities, the security concerns increased.