As part of First Training Squadron’s (1TS) Overseas Deployment from 21 – 24 March, the Indian Naval Ship INS Shardul made a port call at Antsiranana, Madagascar. Officer trainees of the 99th Integrated Officer Training Course are embarked onboard during the ship’s visit. A press statement from the Indian Navy stated, “Adhering to Covid19 protocols, the port call was conducted in a non-contact format and a virtual conference with officials of Madagascar Armed Forces was held on 23 Mar, 21. The conference was attended by Gen Montrogue Fitz Gerald (Chief of Ankarana Defence Zone), Captain Sam Hieng Twion (Antsiranana Naval Base Commander), Capt Aftab Ahmed Khan (Senior Officer First Training Squadron) and Cdr Akshay Khanna (Commanding Officer INS Shardul). The Chief of Ankarana Defence Zone welcomed the ship and appreciated the growing relations between the defence forces of two nations. The conference was followed by a visit of Captain Sam Hieng Twion, Naval Base Commander, Antsirana to INS Shardul.”
It further added that INS Shardul and Malagasy Navy ship MNS Trozona carried out a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) on 24 March. The Joint exercise bears testimony to the growing bonds between the maritime forces of both the nations and aimed at common objectives of ensuring maritime security by India and Madagascar and interoperability between the two navies. 1TS forms a part of Southern Naval Command (SNC), which is the training command of the Indian Navy, headed by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command. India and Madagascar share a strong maritime relation and visit by the First Training Squadron to Antsiranana is a step towards further strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two nations.