Indian ambassador speaking on board INS Delhi as Captains Mishra, Krishnan and Remanan look on. Inset: INS Delhi berthed at Doha Port. PICTURES: Jayan Orma
By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
The visit of two Indian naval ships to Qatar reaffirms the South Asian country's centuries old relations with the region's states, said Indian ambassador Sanjiv Arora on Monday.
INS Delhi and INS Trishul from the Indian Navy's Western Fleet, arrived at Doha port Monday on a three-day visit as part of their overseas deployment duties of the Gulf region.
Addressing journalists on board INS Delhi, ambassador Arora stressed that Indian armed forces and their compatriots of the region have maintained remarkably good relations all along.
"The regularity at which Indian naval vessels has been visiting this region, particularly Qatar, has demonstrated India's desire for strengthening defence co-operation with the two countries," he said.
Recalling there has been a spurt in the defence co-operation between India and Qatar since the signing of an agreement in November 2008, the envoy said there have been four meetings of the joint defence committee of India and Qatar since then, the latest being at the beginning of this year.
Since 2013, vessels of the Indian Coastguards and Indian Navy have called on Doha port on different occasions, recollected the ambassador while pointing out that India and Qatar have been among the members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, an organisation of navies of 35 countries.
While hoping that the ships visit would help strengthen co-operation between the two countries Arora said the visit is of vital importance as the region is crucial for his country's energy security, besides the two being active partners in trade and investments.
The ambassador also hoped the ships' arrival would be a boost to the large Indian diaspora, which he said has contributed remarkably to the region's growth.
INS Delhi and INS Trishul, which arrived from Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia, will join two other ships, currently berthed in Kuwait after a couple of days and proceed to Muscat. The ships will jointly return to India towards the end of the month.
Captain Karthik Krishnan (INS Delhi) and Captain Manish Mishra (INS Trishul) explained the marked features and credentials of the two vessels.
INS Delhi, a 6700-ton indigenous destroyer, built in Mumbai's Mazagon Dock, was commissioned in 1997. The ship, powered by four gas turbines, holds15 surface to surface missiles, surface to air missiles, 100 and 30 mm guns, five torpedoes, anti-submarine rockets, and chaff decoys.
The ship also carries two Sea King Helicopters, capable of both submarine as well as anti-surface operations. The vessel also regularly carries out exercise missions with the navies from the US, Russia, the UK, France, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Singapore and Oman.
INS Trishul, built in Baltic Shipyard, St Petersburg, is a 125m long stealth frigate, displacing 4000 tonnes and with a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship is capable of undertaking multiple and varied missions and has a Kamov 31 helicopter onboard which enhances its operational capabilities.
Senior officials of the Qatari armed forces, Navy and Coastguards will hold deliberations with the officials of the two ships on Tuesday.
Defence attache at the Indian embassy Captain Ravi Kumar Remanan was also present at the media briefing.