NEW DELHI -- India has launched its first home-built aircraft carrier, marking another milestone in its efforts to bolster its maritime presence.
Defense Minister A.K. Antony said Monday that India needed a strong navy to defend itself, and that India will press ahead with developing its maritime capabilities.
India joins the U.S., Russia, France and Britain in building its own carrier. The carrier was launched at the Kochi shipyard in southern Kerala state, but it still needs to be outfitted and extensive trials held before it is inducted into the Indian navy in 2018.
India has steadily built up its naval capabilities in recent years, spurred by its rivalry with neighboring China.
On Saturday, India activated an atomic reactor for its indigenously built nuclear submarine.