Friday, Aug 15, 2003
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By Arunkumar Bhatt
The first mission of the newly-acquired guided missile frigates after its commissioning at St. Petersburg, Russia, is to visit a number of ports on the way back home even if that means months of sailing.
Such visits are great events for both the guest and host navies since their officers and sailors get opportunities to interact. The visits also strengthen diplomatic, economic and cultural ties.
Commissioned on June 18 last, INS Talwar visited a number of ports during its maiden voyage to the home waters, deviating from normal practice. Normally, a new warship sails straight home and makes only a few technical halts for fuel, food and fresh water.
INS Talwar paid goodwill visits to Portsmouth (UK), Toulon (France), Piraeus (Greece), Port Said (Egypt) and Djibouti before arriving at Mumbai last Tuesday.INS Trishul, commissioned a few days later at St. Petersburg has taken a much longer route. It is now sailing round the African continent before arriving in September next.
INS Tabar, now on trial in the Baltic Sea and expected to be commissioned later this year, will cross the Atlantic Ocean twice and visit some ports on the east coasts of North and South America.
On the other hand, Indian warships are assisting other navies, often taking up patrol duties from them. INS Suvarna, an offshore patrol vessel, has just returned from its mission from the Exclusive Economic Zone, Mauritius. INS Suvarna has also sailed Mozambique recently to be on a training mission.
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