Following the docking of four warships in Shanghai after a six year gap, Indian Navy is now preparing the departure of several other warships to cover the entire Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy is sending four warships on an overseas deployment to the Horn of Africa, Red Sea and the western Mediterranean to enhance its blue-water capability. Besides, Indian warships are also headed towards Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives offering surveillance and anti-piracy patrolling.
The four warships of the Indian Navy headed for the Horn of Africa include INS Mumbai, INS Trishul, INS Aditya and INS Gomti from the Western Fleet. The four warships currently docking in Shanghai are guided missile destroyer INS Rana, stealth frigate INS Shivalik, missile corvette INS Karmukh and fleet tanker INS Shakti.
Besides the above-mentioned warships spreading across the Indian Ocean region, another Indian Navy patrol vessel, INS Savitri, is already in Port Victoria, Seychelles. It will be deployed for about two months to undertake surveillance of the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Seychelles and Mauritius. Meanwhile, missile frigate INS Tabar continues its deployment in the Gulf of Aden to escort cargo vessels and contain piracy.
Speaking at a recent naval commanders' conference, Defence Minister AK Antony has indicated that Indian Navy must maintain high levels of operational preparedness at all times given the challenges in the Indian Ocean Region. India's strategic location in the Indian Ocean makes it incumbent upon India to ensure peace and stability in the region.
Before docking in Shanghai yesterday on a four-day port call, the Indian warships also made port calls in Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. This reiterated India's intentions in resolving maritime issues in the Asia-Pacific due to rising tensions between China and its neighbours in the South China Sea. India and China will also hold a first-ever maritime dialogue this year to bring stability in the region and coordinate efforts to ward off piracy.
The four Indian warships docking in Shanghai have also participated in the first ever bilateral maritime exercise between India and Japan. Jimex-12, as the Japan-India Maritime Exercise was called Jimex-12 marked 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.