Kerala

Building bridges of friendship across oceans

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Naval officers from 7 nations train along with their Indian counterparts in Kochi

Lieutenant Hafizuddin of the Royal Malaysian Navy had been to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2014 to take part in Exercise Milan in 2014 when he had occasion to interact with his counterparts in the Indian Navy.

Five years later, he is set to complete a roughly seven-month-long specialised course in navigation and direction under the Southern Naval Command, Indian Navy’s training command, in Kochi.

“It’s been a wonderful experience. My seniors had come here earlier to take the course. It has given me a deeper understanding of the branch. I look forward to coming back,” he says, looking at another batch of 13 officers from seven nations, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Morocco, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, who graduated from the Indian Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) School on completion of their specialisation course on Friday.

A first for Morocco

It was the first time an officer from Morocco had come down for training at the ASW School, pointed out Commander Sridhar Warrier, Defence PRO. Lt Oualid Afrache had earlier trained in ASW in the US.

“With the Moroccan Navy acquiring frigates with sonars, it became imperative to understand the technology so as to exploit it well. And, apart from training, we had a good time here. I will surely recommend it to all my officers,” he said.

Lt. Commander Emilio Okyere Dadzie from Ghana, who also trained at the Navigation and Direction School, recalls the long-standing relationship between India and Ghana.

A tradition

“It dates back to the colonial times and our officers have got trained here since the 1960s,” he says. Lt Daniel of RMN who’s completed his specialisation course at the Signal School recalls that some Admirals of the Royal Malaysian Navy had also trained at the school in their younger days.

Besides the professional training, the international trainees, some of them are accompanied by their spouses, get a chance to tour places across India. “There’s tremendous bonding that one develops with the institution and across nations. It’s something that stays with you,” says Lt. Cdr Samiul Haq, a naval pilot from Bangladesh who stood first in the ASW course.

Pat for Indian Navy

“The Indian Navy is one of the most professional navies and the way they train is appreciated the world over,” he adds.

Captain Abraham Samuel, Command Training Coordinating Officer of the Indian Navy, says that it has so far trained about 14,000 foreign officers from 46 different countries.

“On an average, we train about 1,000 people each year. There’s been a spike in the number of trainees seeking training from us over the last few years. It is all funded by the Ministry of External Affairs and almost 90% of the seats allotted to the Navy every year get subscribed,” he adds.

Apart from training foreign naval personnel at its institutions, the Indian Navy also sends out mobile training teams, at least five-six teams every year, to give customised courses based on demand from friendly nations.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 6:29:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/building-bridges-of-friendship-across-oceans/article30053324.ece

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