Indian Navy heads for first Atlantic Ocean deploymentMay 29th, 2009 - 7:15 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Underlining its increasing strategic prowess, the Indian Navy has for the first time embarked on a two month-long deployment to the Atlantic Ocean, where it will participate in separate war games with the British and French navies. Since World War I, the Atlantic Ocean has been the stage for strategic warfare for navies the world over.
Three warships and a fleet replenishment tanker from the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet have begun sailing for the Atlantic Ocean, where, besides port calls at many countries, they will conduct the Konkan exercise with the Royal Navy and the Varuna exercise with the French Navy.
“The Indian Navy will be holding an exercise with the British navy June 20-25 and with the French Navy June 30-July 4,” a senior Indian Navy official said, requesting anonymity.
The Indian Navy flotilla comprises the guided missile destroyer INS Delhi that is the biggest warship to be built in the country, the guided missile frigates INS Beas and INS Brahmaputra and the fleet tanker INS Aditya.
Passing through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Navy warships will reach Britain for exercising with the Royal Navy.
“The Royal Navy has huge maritime experience. They are way ahead in anti-submarine operations. We seek to benefit from it as the exercise will remain heavily configured towards anti-submarine warfare,” the official added.
The Royal Navy will field two guided missile frigates HMS Westminister and HMS Lancaster and the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Trafalgar, besides helicopters and combat jets.
“Besides the naval exercise, there will be an exercise between the special forces of the two countries,” the official added without elaborating.
The French Navy’s armada will comprise the guided missile destroyer Primaguet, guided missile frigate Le Henaff, nuclear-powered submarine Emeraude and fixed wing aircraft.
During both exercises, all the three components of naval operations - under-sea, on the sea, and in the air - will come into play. Besides providing an opportunity to gain a foothold in the region, the exercises will also give the Indian Navy considerable experience of operating in different in water density, hydrology and met conditions.
“We need to test our sonar and other equipment in different environmental conditions and the exercises would provide the right opportunity for this. This would help us in working towards interoperability,” the official added.
During World War II, the navies and air forces of the Allied and Axis powers fought pitched battles in the Atlantic Ocean to control the supply routes to an embattled Britain. It is estimated that the Allies destroyed nearly 800 U-boats, while at least 2,200 convoys (75,000 merchant ships) crossed the Atlantic, protected by Allied naval forces.