Vladivostok (Russia), June 27 (IANS) Three Indian Naval ships — Sahyadri, Shakti and Kirch — arrived here on Monday for a four-day visit to Russia, during which the Indian and Russian naval personnel will conduct joint exercises.
An Indian Navy statement called it a “demonstration of India’s commitment to longstanding India-Russia strategic partnership and Indian Navy’s increasing footprint and operational reach”.
Vladivostok is an eastern port city located at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea.
The ships are likely to conduct exercises with the Russian Navy, aimed at enhancing inter-operability in communication as well as search and rescue procedures, it said.
The ships are under the command of the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral S.V. Bhokare, and will be in Vladivostok till July 1 as part of the deployment of the Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea.
During their visit, the personnel aboard the ships will have professional interactions with Russian naval officers and men aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two forces, the statement said.
Indian naval officers will also call upon senior government and military authorities.
Sporting and cultural interactions and sharing of best practices, aimed at strengthening ties and mutual understanding between the two navies, are also planned.
“Relations between India and Russia are characterised by the time-tested bonds of friendship based on cooperation and interactions in fields of culture, trade and economy, science and technology and most importantly defence,” the Indian Navy statement said.
The two navies engage with each other annually through the INDRA NAVY series of maritime exercises in addition to reciprocal visits by training teams, high-level delegations and ships.
The last visit by the Indian Navy ships to Russia was in July 2014, when Ranvijay, Shivalik and Shakti berthed at Vladivostok.
“The current visit seeks to enhance maritime cooperation between the Indian and the Russian navies. It will further bolster the strong bonds of friendship between India and Russia and contribute to security and stability in this vital part of the world,” the statement added.
INS Sahyadri, a Shivalik class stealth multi-role frigate, is commanded by Captain K.S. Rajkumar; INS Shakti, a Deepak-class fleet tanker, is commanded by Captain Gagan Kaushal; and INS Kirch, a Kora-class corvette, is commanded by Commander Sharad Sinsunwal.