India to build aircraft carrier by 2012

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

India announced on March 23 that it will build an indigenous aircraft carrier by 2012.

The announcement represents a historic military development for India and the Asian region. Although India is already one of the nine countries capable of projecting their military power via aircraft carrier, they have not had the capability to build an aircraft carrier themselves.

The project will begin on April 11 with a "steel-cutting ceremony" attended by Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The vessel will be constructed at a state-owned shipyard with technical assistance from foreign consultancy firms. An Italian company is providing design consultation while a Russian firm is contributing aviation technology.

The construction of an indigenous aircraft carrier is part of India's larger plan to modernize its navy. India aims to strengthen its navy, and its military power generally, through greater cooperation with and purchase of weapons systems from the United States.

In a related development, the United States announced on Friday that it intends to help India become a "major world power."

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