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Updated: September 30, 2012 00:52 IST

Forward Observation Posts in strategically located islands

Special Correspondent
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INS Sudarshini, a sail training ship of the Indian Navy sailed out from Chennai Harbour on Saturday. Photo: V. Ganesan
The Hindu INS Sudarshini, a sail training ship of the Indian Navy sailed out from Chennai Harbour on Saturday. Photo: V. Ganesan

‘The crew will get to realise its potential under adverse conditions’

The Navy plans to establish Forward Observation Posts in strategically located islands to serve as a first line of defence along the eastern seaboard.

Director General (Naval Projects) Vice Admiral V.K. Namballa told reporters here on Saturday that over 1,200 islands on the Andaman and Nicobar stretch were being analysed for setting up the posts.

The Navy was strengthening its fleet in the Eastern Naval Command with warships of Shivalik and Sahyadri class. A new tanker ship was being imported from Italy. A Memorandum of Understanding would be signed with private ports for enabling operations of naval ships, he said.

Queried about reports of a suspected agent of the Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence being assigned by the agency to videograph sensitive naval establishments, including INS Varsha at Visakhapatnam that houses a nuclear submarine facility, Vice Admiral Namballa said, “INS Varsha is a highly secured place and there is no possibility of any unauthorised person videographing the premises.”

Earlier, flagging off INS Sudarshini, India’s goodwill ambassador at sea that sailed out from here on a 127-day voyage, he said the ship would strengthen diplomatic ties among the Association of South East Asian Nations. It would visit 13 ports across nine countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.

A means of diplomacy

“Great dynasties of ancient times have successfully used the sea route to traverse oceans to reach other countries to propagate economic and cultural ties ... History tells us that Cholas and Pallavas had encouraged sea voyages as a means of diplomacy. INS Sudarshini will retrace the sea routes taken by Indian mariners and in doing so shall also retrace the historical and civilisational links between these countries and strengthen maritime bonds further,” he said.

The core philosophy of the historic mission was exchange of cultural ties and values. A voyage of this nature was highly challenging and adventurous as the crew would be exposed to elements of nature that would enable them respect and understand the power of nature.

“They will get to realise their potential under adverse conditions and understand the value of team work,” he said.

Naval Officer-in-charge (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry) Commodore Amar K. Mahadevan said the ship would log 12,217 nautical miles during its voyage that would help the crew to transform into good mariners. The ship was a reflection of trust and friendship.

INS Sudarshini, the latest sail training ship of the Navy, will be manned by five officers, including Commanding Officer N. Shyam Sundar, and 31 sailors.

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