India's first aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which played an important role in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, has been sold to a ship breaker for Rs. 60 crores.
Defence sources are being quoted by the media, as saying that the auction process was completed last week. A company named IB Commercial Pvt Ltd. has purchased the decommissioned aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy.
Earlier, the Government of Maharashtra said it was unable to maintain the INS Vikrant, which was commissioned in 1961 and decommissioned in January 1997. Once the money is paid, IB Commercial Pvt Ltd. will have to tow the ship away from the Naval Dockyard here within thirty days. There were plans earlier of converting the ship into a museum, but its condition was so bad that the project was abandoned.
The Indian Navy and the Ministry of Defence have maintained in court that the ship's operational life is over. The Majestic-class aircraft carrier was purchased from Britain in 1957.