Home / News / India /  Indian Navy gets busy as nation's maritime diplomacy in full swing

NEW DELHI: From a rare call at a Norwegian port to exercises in the Persian Gulf to joint drills with its Australian, US and Japanese counterparts in Guam, its busy season for the Indian Navy – with maritime diplomacy in full swing.

The Russian built INS Tabar has held exercises with the Norwegian Navy over the weekend, the Indian Navy said in a statement, describing the visit to the Bergen harbor as “a landmark."

Meanwhile, the INS Kochi, with two integral Sea King MK 42B helicopters, deployed in the Persian Gulf, after having completed exercises with the United Arab Emirates Navy has reached Saudi Arabia for military manoeuvres, according to news reports.

According to a second statement from the Indian Navy, INS Shivalik, a stealth warship and INS Kadmatt, an anti submarine warfare corvette, will be exercising with the Royal Brunei Navy. The two Indian ships arrived in Muara in Brunei on Monday.

“India’s interests are now varied and lie far beyond its own waters," said a person familiar with the matter. Military exercises enhance ties between countries as well as between navies besides improving interoperability, the person cited above said.

The first Indian Navy statement said that “Norwegian officials expressed their happiness on receiving an Indian warship (INS Tabar) and hoped to see more such similar engagements in future to consolidate the relations between the two countries."

“On completion of port visit, in a landmark first for the Indian Navy, INS Tabar participated in a Maritime Partnership Exercise with Royal Norwegian Navy ship, HNoMS Storm, on 8 August 2021," it said.

A range of maneuvers including “visit, board, search and seizure exercise (VBSS) and vertical replenishment by helicopter were carried out, the statement said.

“The exercise was mutually beneficial in enhancing interoperability and towards consolidating combined operations against maritime threats," the statement added.

Separately, a report in the Saudi Gazette said the UNS Kochi had docked in the Saudi port of Al-Jubail on Monday, a testament to the growing defence ties between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The arrival of the ship heralds a new chapter in the bilateral defence ties with the commencement of the harbor phase of first Naval Exercise between the two countries — ‘Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021,’" the report said.

The INS Kochi is an indigenously designed and built stealth guided missile destroyer. It had undertaken a bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar 2021’ with UAE Navy on 7 Aug 2021 off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The UAE participated with UAES AL - Dhafra, a guided missile corvette and one AS – 565B Panther helicopter.

“As part of the exercise, the ships undertook tactical manoeuvres, over the horizon targeting, search and rescue and electronic warfare exercises to enhance interoperability and synergy between the two navies. Helicopters were extensively used all through the exercise ranging from Search and Rescue serial to passing of targeting data to ships for simulated missile engagement drills," the Indian Navy said.

Meanwhile, in Brunei, the Indian Navy will aim to “enhance interoperability, gain from best practices and develop a common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations," during drills with the Royal Brunei Navy.

“The harbour interactions and exercises at sea aim to consolidate the strong bond shared by the two navies and would be another step towards strengthening India-Brunei defence relations. The bilateral exercise would conclude with a Passage Exercise with Royal Brunei Navy at sea on 12 Aug 2021," a second Indian Navy statement said.

“On completion of bilateral exercise with Royal Brunei Navy, the ships will head to Guam to participate in exercise MALABAR-21 with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the United States Navy (USN)," the Indian Navy statement added. This will be the second year that the navies of the four countries will be participating in the Malabar exercises. Last year, naval ships and personnel from the four countries had participated in the Malabar exercises off the coast of India.

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