NEW DELHI, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- India is to launch its first indigenous aircraft carrier Monday, which will put the country in the league of nations to have such a capability, a top defense official said.
Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony's wife Elizabeth will formally launch the 37,500-ton carrier, INS Vikrant, at Kochi shipyard in the southern state of Kerala, nearly six years since its production started.
"The launch will be the crowning glory of the Indian Navy's indigenisation program," the deputy head of the Indian Navy, Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan, told the media.
The aircraft carrier will be launched and then re-docked for the second phase of construction before being finally readied for extensive trials in 2016.
The ship is likely to be commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2018.
Only the United States, Britain, Russia and France have so far had the capability to build such an aircraft carrier.