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Force Magazine

In Foreign Waters

Overseas deployment of western naval ships focuses on increasing maritime cooperation in East Africa and IOR

A FORCE Report

While Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) has served as an ideal platform for sharing information and co-operation on maritime issues, the recent deployment of western naval ships in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) further enhances this commitment. Indian naval ships Mumbai, Talwar, Teg and Deepak, under the command of Rear Admiral R. Hari Kumar, the flag officer commanding, western fleet, went on a two-month overseas deployment to east Africa and the southern IOR. The voyage started on October 1.

During the course of deployment, the ships visited Antisiranana (Madagascar), Mombasa (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), St Denis (Reunion Island, France), Port Louis (Mauritius), Port Victoria (Seychelles), Nacala (Mozambique) and Simon’s Town (South Africa).

On October 19, three of the four ships, INS Mumbai, Talwar and Deepak, visited Dar es Salaam with a mission to bolster bilateral ties between India and Tanzania. Both the countries have a historic maritime links through trade. Frequent visits by high level delegations including heads of state and government have resulted in the increase of trade relations in various sectors like mineral fuels, oils, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, electrical machinery and agro chemicals.

The fourth naval ship, Teg, a stealth frigate of the Indian Navy, made port calls at Simon Town and Cape Town between October 20 and November 10. The ship participated in the fourth edition of the biennial India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime (IBSAMAR) exercise. The port call at Simon’s Town coincided with the visit of Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, FOC-in-C, western naval command. INS Teg is the ninth Indian naval ship to participate in IBSAMAR. During the ship’s stay in harbour at Simon’s Town, various activities were carried out including professional interaction among naval personnel. After departure from South Africa, the ship made a port call at Mozambique before returning to Mumbai end November 2014.

In the meanwhile, the three naval ships, Mumbai, Talwar and Deepak, continuing their voyage, made a port call at Saint Denis port of the Reunion Island, France, on October 27. India and France have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations with bilateral cooperation being extended to various fields. The establishment of strategic partnership in1998 witnessed further rise in bilateral ties with regular high level exchanges at the head of state and government levels, thus boosting cooperation in trade and investment, culture, science and technology, education, nuclear energy, space and defence to name a few. The scale and quantum of defence cooperation between the countries has progressively been stepped up in the last decade.

The growing defence cooperation between India and France is evident from the conduct of annual naval exercise Varuna, contract for the construction of Scorpene class submarines and the participation of a 400-strong contingent of the Indian armed forces in the Bastille Day parade in 2009, where the Indian Prime Minister was the guest of honour. India and France are also members of IONS, a voluntary and co-operative initiative among 35 countries of the IOR, which has served as an ideal forum for sharing of information and cooperation on maritime issues.


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