Three Indian naval ships, INS Delhi, INS Deepak, and INS Tarkash, successfully concluded their four-day goodwill visit to Kuwait on Sunday and look forward to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the defence cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking to the members of the media onboard INS Delhi, Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, expressed his appreciation at the meeting that took place with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sheikh Khalid Al Jarrah Al-Sabah and was optimistic that future closer cooperation between the two countries will take place.
The meeting was also attended by Indian Ambassador H E Sunil Jain, the captains of the three ships, the Chief of General Staff and Deputy Chief of General Staff of Kuwait Armed Forces, and the Commander of Kuwait Naval Forces. Various issues on regional security were discussed including expanding defense cooperation.
Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain said that a proposed MoU between the two countries could serve as an umbrella suiting the interests of both countries. India and Kuwait are currently members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), along with 35 other countries, which is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase the maritime cooperation among navies of the Indian Ocean region.
Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh told the media that the purpose of the visit of the Indian navy ships, was to build bridges of friendship over the ocean: we make friends, and learn from experiences.
During their four-day stay in Kuwait, the crew of the Indian naval ships will hold professional interactions with the Kuwait naval force pertaining to nuances of maritime operations, means of combating maritime terrorism and piracy. The officers will also call on Kuwait government to encourage cooperation and maintain a mutual understanding between the two.
“We want to enhance our friendship with the navy of Kuwait, taking our relationship to the next level, learn some good things from the navy of Kuwait and share our experiences with them. When we sail out, we will hold out joint exercises,” said Rear Admiral Singh.
Regarding piracy, he said that “Incidents of piracy had come down significantly in the last few months, thanks to the joint of patrolling of the navies together”. The Indian Ocean region has been declared free of piracy, by the IONS, as it has now been contained only to the Gulf of Aden.
Recalling ‘Operation Rahat’, the massive evacuation from Yemen last April, Capt. Pradeep of INS Tarkash said: ‘In one of the largest evacuation missions, three Indian ships rescued nearly 7,000 people from 31 countries.’ Commissioned in November 1997, INS Delhi was the first ship design by India, with 6,700 tons guided missile destroyers. It is a multipurpose command and control platform capable of operating in a multi-threat environment. It carries two Sea King helicopters, capable of both anti-submarine as well as antisurface operations.
INS Deepak was commissioned in January 2011 and it is a modern fleet tanker designed to frontline support to fleet support ships and has an advanced Integrated platform Management System which seamlessly integrates auxiliaries and battle damage management of the ship using microprocessor based digital control systems.
Commissioned in November 2012, INS Tarkash remains one of the latest platforms for the Indian Navy and is a work horse for the western fleet. Its weapon package includes surfaceto-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, advanced torpedo launchers, anti-missile defence system and 100 mm gun.
The INS Deepak and INS Tabar last visited Kuwait in September 2015. Recently, an official from Kuwait’s ministry of defense joined the 72nd course of Defense Services Staff College in Wellington, India on invitation from the Indian side.
The ships had sailed from India on May 3, the vessels will call on ports at Bahrain and Muscat before heading back to Mumbai on May 27. Captain of INS Delhi Capt. Sandeep Singh Sindhu, captain of INS Tarkash Capt. Pradeep Singh, captain of INS Deepak Capt. Sujit Kumar Chhetri, and India’s defense attaché, the Gulf region, Capt. Gurpal Singh were also present at the press conference.