As part of the Indian Navy's Overseas Deployment (OSD) to the Mediterranean Sea and the West Coast of Africa, four warships, namely Indian Naval Ships Mumbai, Trishul, Tarkash and Aditya, arrived at Souda Bay, Greece for a three-day visit yesterday. The warships will engage with the Hellenic Navy during their stay in the country. Apart from professional interactions, a number of sports and social engagements are planned, which would go a long way in enhancing co-operation and understanding between the two navies.
The visiting ships are part of the Indian Navy's Western Naval Command and are based in Mumbai. The Task Group is headed by Rear Admiral RB Pandit, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, who is flying his flag on the indigenous guided missile destroyer, INS Mumbai.
The current visit seeks to underscore India's peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly and like-minded countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen the existing bonds between India and Greece.
India and Greece are two of the world's ancient civilisations with a long history of close contact. Building upon the rich and longstanding relations that have existed between India and Greece, both nations have developed warm relations in several spheres. A number of bilateral agreements for co-operation and cultural exchange exist between the two nations with the majority of them being signed in 2007 during the visit of President APJ Abdul Kalam. Trade between India and Greece remains vibrant with many Indian corporate houses having strong interests in Greece. A MoU for defence cooperation between India and Greece was signed in 1998. The Greek defence minister Mr Pannos Kammenos visited India in December 2015 and held discussions with his Indian counterpart Mr Manohar Parrikar, on various issues such as naval cooperation, training and regional security.
Over the last few decades India has made substantial advances in terms of designing and building warships indigenously and the visiting ships bear testimony to these capabilities. INS Mumbai and Aditya have been designed by the design bureau of the Indian Navy and constructed at Indian shipyards, namely, the Mazagon Dockyard Limited (in Mumbai), and, the Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Limited (in Kolkata). The destroyer Mumbai and the frigates Trishul and Tarkash are equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors.
Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region, including piracy off the coast of Somalia. In addition, the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with Hydrographic Survey, Search and Rescue, EEZ Surveillance and other such capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities. The current deployment in the Mediterranean Sea will contribute towards the Indian Navy's efforts to consolidate inter operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas.