Indian warships visit China after six years
New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) After a gap of six years, four Indian warships are on a visit to China, docking at Shanghai on a four-day port call, even as another set of warships are preparing to leave on a long deployment to cover the entire Indian Ocean region.
The four warships in Shanghai are guided missile destroyer INS Rana, stealth frigate INS Shivalik, missile corvette INS Karmukh and fleet tanker INS Shakti. They are under the command of the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Fleet Flag Officer Commanding Rear Admiral P. Ajit Kumar, according to navy officers here.
The ships are on overseas operational deployment on the eastern seaboard of India, covering Indian Ocean and northwest Pacific Ocean, visiting nations along the way, including Vietnam and Japan.
The warships covered South China Sea too that has witnessed naval flare-ups in the recent months over conflicting territorial claims of nations in the region.
Prior to reaching Shanghai, the four warships participated in the first ever bilateral maritime exercise between India and Japan. Jimex-12, as the Japan-India Maritime Exercise was called, coincided with the commemoration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.
Even as four warships are on deployment on the eastern seaboard, an Indian Navy patrol vessel, INS Savitri, is in Port Victoria, Seychelles, they said.
INS Savitri will participate in the national day celebrations of Seychelles and later be deployed for about two months to undertake surveillance of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Indian Navy continues to maintain a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft in Seychelles to provide aerial surveillance for the EEZ.
Another Dornier plane is actively flying from Maldives to meet Maldivian requirements of EEZ surveillance and anti-piracy patrols. The Indian Navy support to Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles is provided on request of the respective governments.
At another end of the Indian Ocean, missile frigate INS Tabar continues its deployment in the Gulf of Aden on convoy escort and anti piracy patrol, the officers said.
The Mumbai-based Indian Navy Western Fleet is set to deploy four warships on overseas deployment to Horn of Africa, Red Sea and the Western Mediterranean under the command of Rear Admiral A.R. Karve, Flag Officer Commanding, soon.
The Visakhapatnam-based and Mumbai-based naval forces overseas deployment of the Indian Navy takes place annually.
Such long range deployments, covering the Indian Ocean region and beyond are efforts of the Indian Navy projecting its blue water capabilities and operational readiness, they said.
At the recent naval commanders meet in New Delhi, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had noted that India's strategic location in the Indian Ocean and the professional capability of the navy bestowed upon the country a natural ability to play a leading role in ensuring peace and stability in the region.
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