New Delhi: Sail training ship INS Sudarshini, part of the Navy's first training squadron, under the Southern Naval Command, has returned to India after completing a successful month-long deployment in the Gulf region, aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation with friendly navies in the region. During the phase of its deployment, the ship was docked at Port Sultan Qaboos at Muscat (Oman), Bandar Abbas in Iran and the United Arab Emirates and saw visits from several high-level delegations and the Indian diaspora.
"The current visit seeks to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies and will further bolster the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries and contribute to security and stability in the region and the world at large", the Ministry of Defence said in an official statement released Monday evening.
The Commanding Officer of the Ship, Commander Srikanth Venugopal interacted with Captain Ali Al Hosini, Director General Human Resources of the RNO and Captain Hamza, Director of Training at the Iranian Navy to discuss the training of young officers, naval cooperation, aspects of sail training and interoperability between the navies. "The ship, during the deployment, undertook various training exchanges, wherein sail training was imparted to trainees from RNO (Royal Navy of Oman) and IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran) Navy and sea sorties conducted", the statement added.
The fact remains that many countries aren't able to send their officers, cadets to a foreign country for training, this initiative will plug that gap.
Speaking to DefenceWatch on the geopolitical significance of such deployments in the Gulf, Vice Admiral PK Chatterjee (retd), said, "On an average 100 war vessels of foreign navies are present in the Gulf region every day. These exercises enhance our presence in the region and demonstrate to the world that our navy is capable of sustaining outside our area of influence for a longer duration of time".
"Apart from visibility, it also enables our navy to gather data. For example, it allows us to monitor the level of electromagnetic transmission in the region. Any significant change can alert us to new dynamics shaping the region and draw conclusions accordingly," he further stated. In addition to enhancing cooperation, the deployment of INS Sudarshini is also important as it gives India a chance to demonstrate its indigenous shipbuilding capabilities, as the nation seeks to boost defence exports in the region.
The ship built by the Goa Shipyard is powered by two Kirloskar Cummins diesel engines. It is 54 metres long and has 20 sails, 7.5 km of rope and 1.5 km of steel wire rope. Its sails have a total area of approximately 11,140 sq ft and is capable of carrying a batch of five officers, 31 sailors and 30 cadets for training.
(Defence Watch– India's Defence Business News centre that places the spotlight on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)