A tugboat guides the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant as it leaves the shipyard after the launching ceremony in Kochi. Photo: AFP
On September 2, India launched its first indigenously designed aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. As the Indian people celebrated the groundbreaking moment of military self-reliance, the Western media seemed even more excited, claiming that the new carrier was built to counter China.
Ignoring the overwhelming pride of the Indian people in the debut of the aircraft carrier, the Western media simultaneously mentions “China” in their report with headlines: “India launches first aircraft carrier at home amid China concerns”, “India reveals the first improvised aircraft carrier. with an eye on China”. CNN reported that “the new carrier will allow India to take a bigger role in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue military exercises.” The AP commented that “India has ordered its first home-built aircraft carrier as it tries to counter China’s much larger and growing fleet in the region.”
However, the Indian government and people attach an entirely different meaning to the launch of the first home-designed aircraft carrier, seeing it as a landmark achievement in the decolonization process. At the Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the new Naval Flagship, a move aimed at “eradicating the colonial past and befitting India’s rich naval heritage”. A flag is a flag flown by ships or formations to denote nationality. The obsolete Indian naval insignia consisted of the St. George’s Cross — a red cross on a white background, which is replaced by the Indian Navy emblem on a navy blue background enclosed in an octagon, representing the royal seal or Rajmudra of Chhatrapati Shivaji The Maharaj, known as the founder of the Maratha Kingdom of India and the father of the Indian Navy.
“Today, India has removed from its chest a burden of colonial past and a symbol of subservience,” Modi said at the ceremony, “till now, a symbol of subservience remained on the flag of the Indian Navy.” Some Indian media have pointed out that the Indian navy’s effort to eradicate colonialism is gaining even more attention than the commissioning of the warship itself.
This cultural and historical detachment from a colonial legacy was seen elsewhere. On the day of September 8 when Queen Elizabeth II died, the Indian people celebrated the renaming of the Rajpath in New Delhi, marking a historic step of decolonization. Rajpath, formerly known as Kingsway, a symbol of slavery, is now the Kartavya Path. At the inauguration, Prime Minister Modi said, “Today this new aura is visible everywhere, it is the aura of confidence of New India. Kingsway, i.e. Rajpath, the symbol of slavery, has become a matter of history from today and has been erased forever. ”
And yet the western media does not at all share the joy and pride of the Indian people. They are only interested in ensnaring India in America’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy” and pushing India to the forefront of countering and containing China.
Western countries are advancing their own geopolitical agenda as they seek to engage India with the Indo-Pacific Strategy, particularly the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Like the tricks they did a century ago, Western countries are trying to control Asia by controlling India. But the days when India danced to the tune of others are long gone. In recent times, India has become the fifth largest economy in the world, surpassing its former colonizer, Britain. India is expected to continue on the path of decolonization and independent development on all fronts, from economic emancipation and cultural rejuvenation to foreign policy.
As a major regional power and an independent player on the international stage with growing national pride, India would refuse to be used merely as a political tool in this great geopolitical game, as desired by some Western countries.
The author is an international affairs commentator, regularly writing for Xinhua News Agency, Global Times, CGTN, China Daily, etc. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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