By EUNICE AU
REINFORCING TIES: Exercise with RMN to build friendship between nations’ fleets
PORT KLANG: FOUR Indian navy ships docked at the Port Klang Cruise Centre yesterday morning as part of their annual “Eastern Fleet Overseas Deployment” exercise.
The ships will be open to the public today from 9am to noon and from 2pm to 5pm.
The ships, consisting of the guided-missile stealth frigate Satpura, guided-missile destroyer Ranvijay, guided-missile corvette Kirch and fleet tanker Shakti, are under the command of Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral P. Ajit Kumar.
The Satpura and Kirch arrived from Singapore after taking part in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference and Singapore-Indian Maritime Bilateral Exercise, while the Ranvijay and Shakti sailed from Port Blair, India.
The four will set sail for Vietnam this Wednesday and head to the Philippines after that.
Ajit said the ships’ deployment from mid-May until the end of next month to the South China Sea and Western Pacific waters would serve to reinforce military ties with countries in the region, in addition to showcasing the Indian navy’s prowess.
He said the Indian navy was committed to combating piracy and maritime terrorism in the Indian Ocean and thus, it appreciated the efforts by the Malacca Strait Security Initiative in significantly reducing piracy in the Malacca Straits.
“A passage exercise has also been planned with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), which is sure to contribute immensely in enhancing interoperability and furthering peace and maritime security in the region.
“The exercise will encompass both conventional war fighting drills and cooperative military action against unconventional threats in the maritime domain.”
Ajit said this at a press conference during a media familiarisation tour of the Satpura, adding that about 100 Indian naval officers and 800 crew members would be involved in the exercise.
The Indian navy’s commanding officers will also be calling on naval authorities, state administration, port management, harbour and coastal security organisations and other stakeholders of maritime security to share professional experiences and exchange best practices.
Besides the bilateral exercise, Ajit said the overarching reason for the visit here was to build friendship between the Indian and Malaysian navies.
“Our relationship and camaraderie with the RMN has grown manifold, especially in key spheres such as training, anti-piracy, information sharing and operational cooperation,” he said before feting members of the media with a tea reception, tour of the Satpura and lunch.