Wednesday, May 08, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
The USS Sides, an Oliver Hazard Perry class guided-missile frigate, which carries 180 crewmen, is said to be the first US naval ship calling at Kochi in five years. Officially, the warship, arriving from Diego Garcia, is in Kochi "to provide rest and recuperation for its crew.''
The ship is expected to be in the Kochi waters for a couple of days.
``The visit of the USS Sides demonstrates the increasingly close relationship between the US and India,'' the American Consul General in Chennai says in a press statement.
"The navies of the U.S. and India are working together in the global war on terrorism. The U.S. is committed to forging and maintaining strong beneficial relations with India,'' the statement added.
Indo-US relationship has been in an upbeat mood following the
September 11 incidents in the U.S. Starting early this year, there has been a tremendous upswing in military cooperation between the two countries.
The US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, had, in an interview with The Hindu recently, appreciated the enhanced level of cooperation between the Indian Navy an the American Navy.
"We love the idea of being able to call on occasion on Indian ports...We hope it will be good for U.S.-India relations,'' Mr. Armitage had said.
He had also noted that the Indo-American military-to-military relationship in 2002 was `astronomically different' from what it had been in 2001.
The 445-foot-long USS Sides, commissioned in 1981, has a speed of 28 knots.
The Oliver Hazard Perry is the largest single class of warships built by a Western navy after World War II.
The USS Sides is commanded by Octavio Manduley.
The crew will go on sight-seeing in Kochi and participate in community service projects.
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