Over 50 countries likely to join International Fleet Review

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Over 50 countries are expected to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) next year, including China and Israel, but Pakistan has not yet given any positive response to India’s invitation, Indian Navy chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan said on Wednesday.

However, there is no clarity yet on whether India’s latest indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant will participate in it, as it is still undergoing trials.

At a press conference on the IFR, the navy chief said that messages were sent to neighbouring countries through the Indian missions there.

“We had communicated through the missions abroad. PLA (People’s Liberation Army) navy is likely to participate with a ship and delegation,” Dhowan told reporters at a press conference here.

On Pakistan, he said: “The (Indian) high commission told us they have not received a positive response.”

Asked if INS Arihant will participate in the review, Admiral Dhowan said: “Submarine component will be there, but we have to see if Arihant will be able to participate.”

Dhowan said so far 46 countries have confirmed participation, but it may be in different forms.

The participating nations may send ships, delegations, or their naval chiefs for the review.

At present, it is expected that around 90 ships will participate in the review.

Admiral Dhowan also said aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will participate in the review, and is likely to be decommissioned later in 2016.

The IFR will be held in Visakhapatnam, the headquarter of the eastern command of the Indian Navy, from February 4 to February 8, 2016.

The five-day IFR will see several events, including review of the fleet by President Pranab Mukherjee, supreme commander of the the country’s armed forces.

“During the International Fleet Review, the navies of the world will come together at Visakhapatnam to strengthen bridges of friendship. We may be separated by geography, but we are certainly united through oceans,” the navy chief said.

“The visiting navies will also have the opportunity to display their professional skills as they sail together for exercises to increase mutual cooperation and interoperability, with the underlying theme of keeping the global commons safe and secure in the 21st century,” the Navy chief said.

Dolphin will be the mascot for the IFR.

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