The INS Vikrant was India’s first aircraft carrier, which served faithfully for nearly four decades.
The INS Vikrant as seen from HMS Centaur, March 1962 . Wikimedia Commons
Built by Great Britain for the Royal Navy during the World War II, she was never commissioned because the war ended before her completion.
The INS Vikrant during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Wikimedia Commons
Bought by India in 1957, she was commissioned on March 4, 1961 into the Indian Navy. Since then the INS Vikrant (R11) remained India’s only aircraft carrier till INS Viraat joined her in 1987. Ten years later, the INS Vikrant would be decommissioned.
The reason was simple: no private industrial powerhouse offered to partner with the Maharashtra Government to meet her humongous maintenance cost.
INS Vikrant as a museum. The Hindu
The iconic ship was completely dismantled by 2015 and faded away from public memory. Such was the esteem of the ship that the Indian Navy decided to name its first indigenously manufactured aircraft carrier after her.
Called Bajaj ‘V’, the bike is expected to be launched by February 1.
Vice-Admiral (retd) IC Rao had famously remarked after the auction of the ship to scrap bidders:
“I will keep complaining about the lack of public spiritedness, value of history and misgovernance. We sold our nation’s pride for a mere Rs.60 crore.”
So Bajaj Auto, one of India’s biggest two-wheeler manufacturers, has probably done something that will keep the memory of the aircraft carrier alive for everyone.
Update as on Feb 1
Bajaj unveiled an image of the bike and it looks stunning from all angles.
Production of the 150cc motorcycle will begin on February 5, 2016 and deliveries are expected to start in March. It will be priced between Rs.60,000 and Rs.70,000.