Indian Navy to participate in South Korean international fleet review

August 20th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) In a move aimed at exercising greater influence in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy will be participating in South Korea’s second International Fleet Review, apart from calling at Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian and Singaporean ports. It also hopes to become a member of the US-led Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), an officer said Wednesday. This apart, Indian Navy ships will also be conducting a passage exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, the officer added.

Two warships - a guided missile frigate an an LST (landing ship tank) - will be deployed for the effort.

“The vessels will depart from Port Blair on Sept 12 for Sihanoukville (Cambodia) Sept 18-21 and then proceed to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) Sept 23-26,” a senior naval officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The ships will then leave for Busan (South Korea) where they will stay Oct 5-10 to participate in the prestigious international fleet review,” the officer added.

Approximately 50 domestic and foreign warships and some 30 aircraft will be showcased at the event, which marks the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Korea’s armed forces and will be participated in by 13 nations, including the United States, Britain, China, Russia and Japan.

“South Korea is a leading ship builder, a major capability that India is keen on acquiring,” the officer added.

About 30 of South Korea’s high-tech warships, including a 7,600-tonne Aegis destroyer and a 14,000-tonne Dokdo large-deck landing ship, will be on view. The US Navy will dispatch the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, along with up-to-date vessels and submarines for the fleet review.

“The Indian Navy will also be participating as an observer at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium on the sidelines of the fleet review Oct 8. Vice Admiral Nirmal Verma (who heads the Eastern Naval Command) will represent our navy,” the officer said.

“The symposium is important with Canada pitching to modify its charter to change the status of some countries, including India, from observer to members,” the officer added.

According to the officer, it was in the interest of the Indian Navy if the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and WPNS become the interface of Asian-Pacific security interests.

IONS, the Indian Navy’s endeavour to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), aims to promote shared understanding of maritime issues facing the littoral states of the region. It also aims at the formulation of a common set of strategies to enhance regional maritime security.

Thereafter, the Indian Navy vessels will conduct a passage exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) Oct 11-12. The ships will then move to Malaysian and Singaporean ports before returning to Port Blair by the end of October.

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