NATIONAL

Jalashwa figures in war games

A file photo of the recently acquired U.S. warship Jalashwa.

A file photo of the recently acquired U.S. warship Jalashwa.  

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: The recently acquired U.S. warship Trenton (now renamed INS Jalashwa) figures in war games with an international navy from Thursday. The Jalashwa, along with guided missile destroyer Ranjit, guided missile corvette Kirch and the submarine Vagli, will participate in the tenth ‘Varuna’ exercise with the French Navy off the east coast.

The acquisition of the ship has been mired in a controversy with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) criticising the government for cost overruns and buying it on the basis of a visual inspection. The CAG also said conditions were attached to its use in offensive operations but a senior U.S. official later denied that was the case.

During its initial runs, an accident claimed the lives of six Indian Navy personnel. But the Navy claims that at about $ 50 million, the ship was a good buy and would help the Navy refine its doctrine and concepts during the residual life of 10 years. The ‘Varuna’ series of bilateral exercise is a significant facet of the growing co-operation between both countries. This is in line with the Navy’s focus on enhancing bilateral ties and improving understanding and operability with developed navies through professional interaction.

In addition, this edition of the exercise will provide an opportunity to build on the Navy’s cooperative capability for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief through the participation of newly inducted platform Jalashwa and the French Navy’s Mistral. In addition, intermediate and advanced level anti-submarine exercise, maritime interdiction operations (MIO), visit board search & seizure (VBSS) operations and tactical exercises would also be conducted during the sea exercise phase. The exercise will end with a harbour phase at Vishakapatnam.

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