In pursuit of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and outreach to friendly countries, the Indian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Sumitra, has arrived at Sydney, Australia on a three day visit from 04-07 November 2016.
The visit to Australia is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing maritime security cooperation between the two countries. During the stay in harbour, various activities are planned towards enhancing cooperation and mutual understanding between the two navies such as official calls, reception on board, ship open to visitors, guided tours for Indian Naval personnel and professional interaction between personnel of both the navies. During the port call, INS Sumitra will also participate in the “Festival of India”. On departure, the ship would also undertake a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with RAN ships (TBC).
India and Australia have a strong bilateral relationship with growing convergence on economic and strategic issues. Maritime interaction between the two nations has also been steadily growing with the institutionalization of biennial bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX, with its inaugural edition being held in Bay of Bengal in 2015. An IN delegation participated in Ex KAKADU 16 hosted by Australia in Sep 16. The port visit by Sumitra would further strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations and enhance maritime security, cooperation and interoperability between the two Navies.
Sumitra, is the fourth of the Saryu class ships, based on an indigenous design and constructed by M/s Goa Shipyard Ltd, India. Since commissioning in 2014, the ship has been deployed for multiple operational tasks, the most notable being ‘Operation Rahat’, which entailed the evacuation of personnel of various nationalities from war-torn Yemen in 2015. The ship has a range of 6,500 nautical miles and is capable of embarking one Dhruv/ Chetak helicopter. The ship is commanded by Cdr KP Shreeshan.