Four Indian warships - INS Mysore, INS Tabar, INS Ganga and INS Aditya - have been deployed on a goodwill visit to several maritime nations of Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The warships will hold naval exercises with the navies and coast guards of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Seychelles and Mauritius besides making port calls at Reunion Island and Mozambique, a defence spokesperson said.
Wide-ranging professional discussions and a number of sports and social engagements will take place with the host navies while in harbour, and it will be followed up with naval exercises, he said.
The visit will also include the biennial naval exercise ‘IBSAMAR’ among the navies of India, Brazil and South Africa.
The naval exercises are meant to promote greater inter-operability and foster synergy between the Indian Navy and other participating navies.
The Indian Navy has already been conducting formal exercises annually with several foreign navies since several years, such as the Varuna series with the French Navy, the Indra series with the Russian Navy and the Konkan series with the U.K.’s Royal Navy.
The professional skills and experiences exchanged during these interactions would go a long way in enhancing cooperation and understanding the nuances of naval operations, as well as disaster management and combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy, he said.
The visit also seeks to demonstrate the Indian Navy’s blue water capability to deploy, operate and sustain a maritime task force well away from home for an extended duration.
The current interaction will feature advanced aspects of naval warfare, including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine operations.
The visiting ships are part of the Navy’s Western Fleet under the Western Naval Command based at Mumbai.
The Task Group is headed by Rear Admiral R.K. Pattanaik, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.
Over the decades, India has made substantial advances in terms of designing and building warships indigenously, the spokesperson said.
Three of these four ships have been designed by the Design Bureau of the Indian Navy and built at the public sector shipyards — the Mazagon Dockyard (Mumbai) and the Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers (Kolkata).
Destroyer INS Mysore and frigates INS Tabar and INS Ganga are equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, while replenishment ship INS Aditya is capable of sustaining the warships for prolonged durations at sea.
India’s naval assets have been increasingly involved in the region’s maritime issues, such as hydrographic survey, search and rescue, anti-piracy operations and also in providing humanitarian assistance.