INS Vikrant (Hindi: भा नौ पो विक्रान्त; Sanskrit: विक्रान्त, for courageous) was a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. She played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade on East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
The ship was built under the name Hercules for the British Royal Navy during World War II, but construction was put on hold after the war’s end, and she never entered British service. India purchased the incomplete carrier from the United Kingdom in 1957, and construction was completed in 1961. INS Vikrant was commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. After years of distinguished service, she was decommissioned in January 1997.
From 1997 to 2012, she was preserved as a museum ship in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, until it was closed in 2012 due to safety concerns. At the end of January 2014, Vikrant was sold through an online auction to a Darukhana ship-breaker, where she underwent preparations to be broken up. Although a public-interest litigation was filed and heard by the Supreme Court of India challenging Vikrant ‘s sale and scrapping, on 14 August 2014, the Supreme Court rejected the PIL and cleared the way for the warship to be scrapped. Vikrant remained beached off Darukhana in Mumbai Port while awaiting the final clearances of the Mumbai Port Trust. On 12 November 2014, the Supreme Court gave its final approval for the carrier to be scrapped. The scrapping of Vikrant began on 22 November, and is intended to be completed by mid-2015.
Vikrant was given an extensive refit, including new engines and modernization between 1979 and 3 January 1982. Between December 1982 and February 1983 she was refitted again to enable her to operate BAe Sea Harriers which replaced the Sea Hawk. After the retirement of the Breguet Alizé from carrier service in 1989, she received a ‘ski jump’ for more efficient use of her Sea Harriers.
Vikrant was India’s only carrier for over twenty years, but by the early 1990s she was effectively out of service because of her poor condition. Even following major overhauls she was rarely put to sea. She was formally decommissioned on 31 January 1997.
In August 2013, Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha, chief of the Western Naval Command, said the Ministry of Defence would scrap Vikrant as he had become “very difficult to maintain,” and as no private bidders had offered to fund the museum’s operations. On 3 December 2013 the Indian government decided to auction the ship, due to maintenance difficulties. The Bombay High Court dismissed a public-interest litigation filed by Kiran Paigankar, founder of the “Save Vikrant Committee,” stating the vessel’s dilapidated condition did not warrant her preservation, nor were the necessary funds or government support available.
At the end of January 2014, Vikrant was sold through an online auction to a Darukhana ship-breaker for Rs.60 crores. Although a public-interest litigation was filed and heard by the Supreme Court of India challenging Vikrant’s sale and scrapping, on 14 August 2014, the Supreme Court rejected the PIL and cleared the way for the warship to be scrapped. Vikrant remained beached off Darukhana in Mumbai Port while awaiting the final clearances of the Mumbai Port Trust. On 12 November 2014, the Supreme Court gave its final approval for the carrier to be scrapped. The scrapping of Vikrant began on 22 November, and is intended to be completed by mid-2015.
BAJAJ auto recently launched its new bike V. The design of the bike is such that the fuel tank is made out of the steel of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the ship that won India the 1971 battle against Pakistan.
The video that was launched on January 26, was shown in cinemas along with the screening of the movie Airlift, for the week until February 1. Keroscene Films has produced this particular video.
Speaking about how he saw an opportunity in using the scrap of INS Vikrant in an actual product range, Sumeet Narang, senior vice-president, marketing, motorcycles, Bajaj Auto, says, “It was a marketing idea that got an artistic fold to it. We were working on a new brand, a new bike, which was to be strong, and stood tall and proud. So, there was perfect synergy between the two.”
Talking about the target audience for Bajaj V, Narang says, “We are targeting the ‘executive segment’ which could well be urban, in small towns, even a bit in rural, and we are targeting a set of customers which is not just seeking a practical mileage bike, nor a sporty looking bike, but a vehicle which is solid and imposing. An executive segment would want a product which has attributes of a solid form and a commanding presence. The target group will be NCCS AB 25-35 Male.”
As for the production, Narang says, “It is to start this month. We plan to make the bike available for delivery in March. We are setting up a production capacity of 20,000 bikes. But, going by the response we received since we first unveiled the essence of this brand on January 26, we may have to increase the capacity sooner rather than later.”
The cost of the bike is will be between Rs 60,000-70,000.