by Shamindra Ferdinando
India’s most powerful warship, an aircraft carrier, will arrive in Sri Lanka later this week turning a new chapter in Indo-Lanka relations. The 44,500 tonne INS Vikramaditya will berth at the port of Colombo on Thursday. Having commissioned the warship in Nov 2013 in Russia, India inducted the vessel in June 2014.
Naval sources told The Island that an aircraft carrier hadn’t made a port of call here for over two decades. The Navy will welcome the Indian flagship in a special way.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was here on a two-day official visit last March. He was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka in 27 years. Sources said the Indian Premier’s visit paved the way for enhanced post-war partnership with India.
A US aircraft carrier was the last such vessel to visit Colombo.
Flagship INS Vikramaditya, formerly of the Soviet fleet and then of the Russian navy, is the second aircraft carrier currently operated by the Indian Navy. India commissioned its first aircraft carrier INS Viraat in 1987.
The Indian Navy continues to retain the services of a group of Russian specialists to obtain technical advice as regards the operation of various systems and mechanism.
Source: Defense News