Indian-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant launched

The INS Vikrant was launched amid chanting from ancient Hindu scriptures at the Kochi shipyard in the southern state of Kerala

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India has unveiled its first home-built aircraft carrier from a shipyard in southern Kerala state.

The 37,500 tonne INS Vikrant is expected to go for extensive trials in 2016 before being inducted into the navy by 2018, reports say.

With this, India joins a select group of countries capable of building such a vessel.

Other countries capable of building a similar ship are the US, the UK, Russia and France.

Monday's launch of INS Vikrant marks the end of the first phase of its construction.

The ship will be then re-docked for outfitting and further construction.

The ship, which will have a length of 260m (850ft) and a breadth of 60m, has been built at the shipyard in Cochin.

It was designed and manufactured locally, using high grade steel made by a state-owned steel company.

Vice-Admiral RK Dhowan of India's navy has described the launch as the "crowning glory" of the navy's programme to produce vessels on home soil.

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